Impact of prohibited MDC demo felt in Mutare

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By Staff Reporter

Mutare: The impact of the prohibited mass demonstration which was called by MDC Friday was felt in the eastern border as business slumped while transporters recorded low business.

Police cancelled the anticipated mass demonstration which was called by the main opposition party at the last minute. The High Court in Harare later upheld the ban.

MDC cited the deteriorating economy and increasing levels of poverty in the country as the major reason for the protests.

A survey carried by this paper indicated that although it was business as usual, the environment in the Central Business District (CBD) of Mutare was tense with armed riot police patrolling the city.

Police were armed with teargas canisters, AK rifles and had water cannon trucks on standby.

Places which are usually frequented by money changers and cell phone dealers were deserted as police officers kept a close eye.

A major pick-up point for Harare bound transport was not busy as usual as most locals who conducted their business in Harare opted to stay put fearing for their safety.

Bus and kombi drivers told this publication that business was low as most people opted not to travel on the day.

“Business is very low today; people are not travelling to Harare. People are afraid that the demonstrations may turn violent and they may be caught in cross-fire,” said Clive Dube, a kombi driver.

Another bus driver said he was instructed to park and resume duty on Saturday after observing the situation in Harare.

“I was told to park the bus by the owners. They instructed to resume duty tomorrow (Saturday) as you can see there are police officers all over,” said the driver.

Foreign currency traders also said business was low as police were frequently visiting their areas of operations.

They also said they could not risk travelling to Harare carrying huge sums of money for trade.

“Rates are low today. We are changing 98 RTGS for USD$10 because we did not go to Harare to dispose our hard currency to our buyers. Business will resume tomorrow (Saturday) after we observe whether the environment will be safe to travel to the capital city,” said Lucky Sithole (32).

Another cell phone accessories dealer Allan Muusha weighed in saying business was low after the opposition called for demonstrations in Harare.

“I did not receive my consignment today because there were not deliveries. The suppliers told me that they will be closed because of the anticipated protests and will resume business on Monday,” said Muusha.

However, other people interviewed felt the two political protagonists Emmerson Mnangagwa and MDC leader Nelson Chamisa should find each other and help salvage the country`s economy from further sinking.

They said people have suffered for too long and they want long lasting solutions to problems bedevilling the economy.