Greetings fam. I'm sure most of you are aware by now about the situation currently in Zimbabwe. President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Saturday announced the rise in the price of petrol and diesel (which was more than 100%) in a move to improve supplies as the country struggles with its worst fuel shortages in a decade. Citizens decided to then shut down the country on Monday the 14th of January as a way of protesting against the government, because they knew that the implications of the new fuel prices would be detrimental. The economy was already - & still is - in a dire situation.
I've decided to share some of the content that has been made available online so far, and I'll start with the US report on "The recent Zim elections and reasons why Zim has no US dollars" which was shared by Zimbabwe Association. I believe this video will provide some context from a different perspective on what has lead to the situation in the country.
Moving on, I've compiled a list of reliable resources/articles that you can follow, read and watch in order to ensure that you're kept up to date and well informed, because there has been a lot of developments since the protests have begun.
Zimbabwe protests after petrol and diesel price hike [BBC]
Zimbabwe crisis: What you need to know [News 24]
Zimbabwe fuel protests: Opposition activist Pastor Mawarire arrested [BBC]
UPDATE: Transport system comes to a halt in Zimbabwe [eNCA]
Why Zimbabwe’s internet blackout will backfire [BusinessLive]
From burning cars to police crackdown, Zimbabwe remains on edge [Times Live]
Zimbabweans Strike for Third Day as Crackdown Is Criticised [Bloomberg]
The government decided to not only retaliate with the army, but also by arresting local citizens (over 600 people have bee arrested so far) and activists, as well as shutting down the internet. Zimbabwe is the 3rd African country to have it's internet shut down over these past 3 months. The Deputy Minister of Information informed the public on national TV that the internet was down due to congestion, which has to be one of the most ridiculous excuses I've heard in a while. The founder of Econet "Strive Masiyiwa" released a press statement informing the public that his network blocked internet services on government orders. Resisting would have resulted in imprisonment for Econet management. To date, it seems like some people have been able to access the internet, while others are still not able to access specific social media platforms. If the government had nothing to hide, why would it do this?
The president released a statement on social media from Russia meanwhile his govt had blocked all internet services (ironically), but what really got to me was the part where he said "..I understand the pain and frustration many of you are feeling...". I don't think someone that has the luxury to spend $25Mill for a luxury private jet to fly across Eurasia understands what Zimbabwean citizens are going through, because if he had, he would have postponed his trip and returned home to resolve the situation. It clearly seems like he's more interested in selling dreams that won't come true, even if it requires him calling Putin's Russia, a big brother to Zimbabwe. People have been arrested, people have been killed, people have been injured, and people are tired. While soldiers in Kenya risked their lives by fighting real terrorists, Zimbabwean soldiers are terrorising innocent civilians not only in the streets but even in their homes. How can a country be open for business if it's people struggle to make a decent living from their own businesses due to the governments negligence?
Anyway, a prominent South African spoken word artist "Nomonde Sky" shared a poem yesterday entitled "She's on fire" which I've decided to share with you. It's poem that speaks on the current situation in Zimbabwe, and it would be an injustice if we I didn't share it. You can watch and listen to the poem here / Click picture below.
The Radioactive Blog believes in the power of poetry, and we appreciate (as well as promote) poets who are able to creatively use their gifts to address the problems we face in our society. Her words are more helpful than the African leaders who's silence has become deafening. Before bringing the article to an end, I'd like to inform you about an online petition currently going on "Stop police and military brutality in Zimbabwe. Ban ED Mnangagwa from Davos", and this is what its about:
"The president of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has lost legitimacy. Zimbabweans are suffering and the government has launched a crack down on personal liberties. The economy is collapsing. Health delivery has collapsed, yet he continues travelling around the world in posh private jet. On 14th January 2019, protesters have been brutalised by Zimbabwean security forces. Live ammunition has been used against civilians. Emmerson Mnangagwa must be stopped from travelling to Davos from 22-25 January 2019. The international community must stop propping up a dictator." Please Sign the petition here.
With all this being said, we can only hope for the best, but let's not be hopeful in silence. Let's keep sharing information online, and let's keep praying. We can only do what we can within our different capacities, but it's better than doing nothing. You can find more information by following the hashtags #ZimbabweShuTDown and #SwitchBackOnZW. Today marks the day that Patrice Lumumba was assassinated, so I'll end this article with one of his quotes that I know a lot of Zimbabweans will resonate with "The only thing which we wanted for our country is the right to a worthy life, to dignity without pretence, to independence without restrictions..."- Patrice Lumumba .