By Tatenda Dewa | Harare Bureau |
The Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ) senior vice president, Callisto Jokonya, has expressed concern that recent protests that turned violent are creating economic uncertainty.
The protests which have rocked Harare and other parts of the country since July were partly generated by citizens’ growing frustrations with the economic crisis burdening Zimbabwe.
Protesters also demonstrated against unpopular policies that include a June imports ban, excessive roadblocks, police corruption and President Robert Mugabe’s government’s worsening human rights record.
Police repeatedly tried stop the demonstrations that started off peacefully despite High Court orders, resulting in citizen activists reacting angrily and property being destroyed.
In July, civil servants and other workers from elsewhere stayed away from work over delayed salaries.
Jokonya called for dialogue between the protesters and government.
“We don’t want these stayaways, demonstrations and violence. People of credible leadership from both ends must sit down and find a way of resolving their differences for the good of the nation.
“That will send a good signal inside and outside the country. There is no need for violent demonstrations and telling each other off. As employers, we feel this noise creates uncertainty, which we don’t want,” Jokonya told local journalists.
Chris Mugaga, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) chief executive officer said violent protests scared away foreign investors.
“Naturally as business, we give precedence to peace and tranquility. Capital is a coward. It will not stay where there is no peace.
“So it is important that there is peace and tranquility in the country. Besides, no political settlement can ever be reached through the streets,” said Mugaga in an interview with a local publication.
Investors have largely stayed away from Zimbabwe due to political uncertainty that war veterans recently blamed on Mugabe’s advanced age but also includes lack of a clear succession plan in the ruling Zanu PF, a hawkish indigenisation law that forces foreign to cede majority stakes to local companies and worsening human rights abuses.
Mugabe, 92, insists that he wants to contest the 2018 general elections when he would have turned 94. Nehanda Radio