“The president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, faces growing threats to his authority stemming from ongoing economic and political crises, which are being exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.“Several clashes have occurred between workers and security services as many people struggle to earn a living.
“Further unrest is likely as restrictions remain in place for most workers and the economic crisis continues.
“Mnangagwa came to office promising sweeping political and economic changes, raising public and international expectations,” the EIU said in its latest report on Zimbabwe.
This had raised fears that the stage could set for potentially bloody clashes between the protesters and often trigger-happy security forces — particularly after both the government and the ruling Zanu PF vowed to crush the demonstrations, claiming that the protests were meant to topple Mnangagwa from power.
“The momentum that has been gathered, as well as the buy-in from Zimbabweans, is so overwhelming that nobody — not even the police or the convener — can stop it.“The decision to demonstrate was reached while we were already under lockdown. So, there is no going back.“We are not going to let go if we don’t get the result we want,” the main organiser of the protests, Jacob Ngarivhume, said on Thursday.
“Managing the economic fallout from the pandemic will dominate government policy in 2020, alongside ongoing efforts to revive the economy and attract investment.“Despite the pro-business rhetoric, there have been few meaningful reforms to Zimbabwe’s business environment.
“Aid inflows will remain sizeable given the mounting humanitarian emergency stemming from the economic crisis and exacerbated by the pandemic; the UN estimates that more than half the country faces food insecurity this year.“Aid flows will bypass the government, going directly to non-governmental organisations and other local groups, and therefore will not appear in the fiscal accounts,” the EIU said further in its grim report.
“The main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has been pressing for dialogue between the two main parties to address the economic crisis.“However, several MDC activists and members of Parliament have been arrested as the ruling party attempts to stifle opposition voices,” it said.
At one time, both men appeared ready to finally end their brawling when former South African leader Thabo Mbeki separately held talks with them last year over the country’s worsening economic rot.