The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum notes with regret the events happening in Zimbabwe. Following the announcement by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on 12 January 2019 of the increase in fuel prices, the labour movement and other social formations called for a national stay away in protest starting 14 January 2019. The Forum through its members across the country has witnessed horrible scenes of human rights violations as the protests turned violent.
This sad development follows 40 days of government deadlock with medical doctors which brought untold suffering to many people who depend on the national health system. Hardly a week had passed when government triggered social unrest through reckless measures announced at night without consultation with the already suffering workers the evening before the President left for Eastern Europe, leaving the country on fire.
The Forum is concerned that the government’s arrogant disregard of the calls for dialogue by many stakeholders, the lack of attention to the workers’ plight and the general economic situation is setting the nation on a tragic trajectory.
Zimbabwe has continued to witness the growing socio-economic crisis since the introduction of the bond note in November 2016, which has been exacerbated by a disputed election, the failure to address the economic fundamentals and political reforms necessary for economic revival. This failure has seen a collapse in market confidence, hyper inflation, shortage of foreign currency, shortage of basic commodities and closure of companies among many other economic difficulties.
On 12 January 2018 during a press conference, President Mnangagwa announced a hike in fuel prices which he said was due to increased fuel usage and rampant illegal foreign trading. This development has triggered the unrest that has now enveloped the nation. While the government has continued to spend big on foreign trips, there has not been a sense of urgency in responding to the situation. This is evidenced by the President prioritizing international relations ahead of the welfare of suffering families back at home. As a result, an already impoverished population will feel the burden of the Government’s poor management of the economy which is worsened by its poor record of non-accountability on the use of resources and reluctance to implement economic and democratic reforms.
The Forum thus calls upon;
The Government of Zimbabwe
- Take measures to restore market confidence and restore sanity to the economy through the implementation of the necessary reforms.
- Ensure the respect of all fundamental human rights for all people including socio-economic rights that are severely threatened.
- Ensure respect for the right to freedom of assembly, association, freedom of speech and the rights to petition, among other rights which the people of Zimbabwe are entitled to and must enjoy without hindrance
- Initiate the process of national dialogue with all stakeholders (not only political parties) with an interest in the speedy resolution of the situation.
- Particularly President Mnangagwa to return home and lead the nation towards a peaceful resolution of the situation
The People of Zimbabwe
- The Forum calls upon the people of Zimbabwe to respect the rights of others by desisting from violence and any acts of sabotage
- To find peaceful means of expressing their views without worsening the already bad situation
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
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