Just too busy for a shutdown

Review & Mail Writers

The much-hyped 9 May “shutdown Zimbabwe” which had been called nationwide urging workers and students  to stay away from business in protest of deteriorating socio-economic conditions, flopped as the majority went about their business as usual this Monday. 

The national shutdown was called by the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU), Amalgamated Rural Teacher’s Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) and a host of online activists as a plan for workers to not report for duty today.

However, the message appeared not to have taken root as normal business obtained in Harare, the capital city, major citues and towns and pretty much everywhere else.

A survey on the ground and on social media platforms confirmed the shutdown did not electrify the country.

This could be part of Government’s interventions at the weekend, in part, restoring liberalised transport after the country had ground to a standstill in the previous few days.

The shutdown, which was feared to stoke tensions between civilians and authorities, did not materialise and many people breathed a sigh of relief.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) was relieved.

“The ZRP reports that the situation in the country is normal. The public is urged to report anyone trying to intimidate, harass or threaten members of the public who are peacefully conducting their normal day-to-day activities. Police is ready to ensure that peace continues to prevail throughout the country,” said ZRP.

The military, police in riot gear and water cannons were deployed to some of the country’s universities where ZINASU has vowed to shut down all tertiary institutions in protest of high fees.

In a response suggestive that their national shutdown calls were heeded despite the presence of the police, Obert Masaraure of Artuz claimed the action had registered success.“Citizens kept the state busy. In the long run it will become very expensive for the state to deny us basic services. The cost of repression and exploitation will be too high,” he said.

The two unions had tabled a number of demands which included pre-October 2018 salaries for teachers, state-funded education and an end to the persecution of incapacitated teachers.

He accused government of not being responsive to citizen issues.

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