Zimbabwe ruling party says not moved by country ‘shutdown’
The protest, seen as the biggest in the last decade, was organised by a social media movement known as #ThisFlag and civil society groups that want President Robert Mugabe to step down for allegedly failing to stop corruption and the country’s economic collapse.
Zanu-PF is focused on what it wants to do and cannot be shaken by these activities
However, Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo told journalists after a meeting of the party’s top decision making body, the politburo that they were not moved by the stay-away that coincided with a nationwide strike by civil servants.
“Zanu-PF is focused on what it wants to do and cannot be shaken by these activities,” he said. “We are the ruling party, and we will not accept anything short of law and order.”
Chombo claimed Western embassies and local opposition parties were behind the protest dubbed #ShutDownZimbabwe 2016.
He said security forces would clampdown on those found to be instigating the unrest.
Meanwhile, a respected economist John Robertson said the strike would not have a serious impact on Zimbabwe’s economy as it was already on its knees.
“There isn’t much work being done in the factories anyway, so this will not make much of a difference,” he said.
The shutdown was partially sparked by a delay by government to pay its workers their June salaries. Teachers’ and health sector workers were told they would only get their wages on July 7 and 14 respectively.
An offer of a $100 advance to help cover transport costs failed to calm the angry workers. However, the protests forced the government to swiftly bring forward, by a week, the deferred salary payments for state doctors and nurses.
The Health Services Board announced that payments which were initially slated for July 14, would now be made on July 8.
Mugabe has been accused of failing to arrest corruption and revive the economy, which has been declining since he won a controversial election in 2013.