Of Coffee With Shutdown

If you were having coffee with me I would be happy to have you visit and ask you not to mind the mess, make yourself comfy and never you mind the elephant in the room… we are out of coffee, milk and sugar… I am also not keen on finding out what the new price is, it’s like you blink and prices have gone up… again.

That’s one of the reasons why a stay-away protest had been called for by various societies and unions. The rising cost of living, the runaway inflation, the cost of education and the transport situation among other things have made life for an ordinary Zimbabwean a bit of waking nightmare. Team Pachedu who strive to promulgate the culture of transparency, responsibility and accountability articulated the demands of the Shutdown protest as follows:

On Monday 9 May, we are all shutting down Zimbabwe to express our dissatisfaction with the Government.
@PacheduZW

Teachers Unions, Student Unions and Workers Unions also added their support to the calls to #ShutdownZimbabwe which became a trending topic on social media with people airing be it their support for it or the futility of it all and those who would simply be business as usual.

#shutdownzimbabwe
Trending in Zimbabwe

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that in the past week, police were on a crackdown to stop pirate taxis… I have shared about my (mis)adventures in these illegal taxis. Commuters are supposed to use only the government regulated transporter ZUPCO or ZUPCO-Franchised private transporters… but of course, these aren’t enough to cater for the commuting public.

waiting for ZUPCO
waiting for ZUPCO

Enter the unruly pirate taxis which are also responsible for not only traffic violations but criminal activities such as robbery and abductions of passengers. The blitz on these illegal operators compounded by picketing by ZUPCO operatives created a nightmarish scenario for the commuting public, with people having to queue for hours to get transport.

There’s a circulating communique that according to social media is purported to have been issued to the police that they must desist from taking pictures in unflattering circumstances….

acts of indiscipline in police uniform

In what may or may not have been a response to the calls for a shutdown protest, on the 7th of May, the president held a press conference to announce Measures to restore confidence, preserve value and restore macroeconomic stability that would introduced to stem the inflation, oh and end the ZUPCO monopoly 👀… wait didn’t they create this mess… erm ok moving on:

•Government has suspended banks from lending to the government and the private sector until further notice.
•Forex cash withdrawals above US$1k to attract 2% fee up from 5c
•A 4% Tax on domestic forex transfers
•Retailers and wholesalers are to benchmark their pricing to the average interbank rate with a maximum allowable variance of 10%,
-All these part of measures to curb the black market
•Liberisation of the public transport -players in sector to be allowed to import buses duty free for the next 12 months.

President Mnangagwa (centre0 Mthulu Ncube (left) and RBZ chief John Mangudya (right)

The Public Service Commission also issued stern warnings to civil servants attendance would be monitored every two hours and any absentisim to be properly accounted for.

monitoring of staff attendance PSC

If you were having coffee with me, I ask you how you stay away from work when work, when you don’t work or if not going to work means you will starve, considering how our economy is made up of informally self-employed… I stayed home, but not because I was participating in the shutdown but because with an internet connection I don’t need to leave home, just like how you are able to learn about the place I call home even though you are there and not here..

Depending on whom you ask, some will say the shutdown was a success, while others will say it was a flop. If you ask me, I will say that I am just glad that we did not get an internet shutdown; that the protest has also brought to the attention of the government the challenges people face.

Sometimes I wonder if our elected officials are in touch with the plight of ordinary folk. I was reading an article on how the president of Uganda was saying if there is no wheat for bread then they must eat cassava.

Museeni tells Ugandans to eat Cassava NTV

So whats been going on in your neck of the woods?

~B

PS My article Bad Cop Good Cop (from when I got ‘arrested’ for violation of lockdown protocol) got featured for reading on Matt’s podcast: Short Story Saturday

coffee-with-shutdown

buy me coffee

its crazy out here support my blog… ^_^

$2.00

6 Comments

  1. Transportation really seems to be a big issue. Have you considered banding in with people from your neighborhood and buying a car that you could then use for carpooling?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s