Deputy Information Minister Energy Mutodi – the second top ranking government spokesperson – has told Zimbabweans to park their cars and use bicycles if they can not afford the high fuel charges introduced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the weekend.
In a widely condemned Twitter post on Sunday, Mutodi also issued a chilling threat on Zimbabweans contemplating to protest in the streets against Mnangagwa’s economic failures, warning they may “lose a limb”.
Transport operators and businesses were reviewing their prices upwards on Sunday after Mnangagwa said his government raised the price of petrol to $3,31, up from $1,38, while diesel will now sell for $3,11 per litre up from $1,32.
Mnangagwa said the shock increase, which would make fuel unaffordable for many Zimbabweans, would address a “persistent shortfall in the fuel market attributable to the increased fuel usage in the economy and compounded by rampant illegal currency and fuel trading activities.”
“Faced with high fuel costs, clever people know what to do and here are some tips: Avoid fuel guzzler, reduce fleet, cancel unnecessary trips and use bicycles where possible to save BIG. Do not protest in the street you can lose a limp (sic) in skirmishes,” Mutodi said on Twitter.
Mutodi’s warning that Zimbabweans will “lose limbs” appeared designed to harvest the fear induced by the August 1 street shooting of 35 opposition activists by the military in central Harare during protests against delays in announcing results of the Presidential Election held on July 30 last year.
MDC leader Nelson Chamisa on Saturday said he was ready to “lead and stand ready to play a key role in finding a lasting solution,” but has not outlined what his party intends to do to bring the pressure to bear on the Zanu PF government which he has refused to recognise since the disputed election.