Mugabe’s party says Western embassies behind Zimbabwe protests



Harare - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party
accused Western embassies of sponsoring Wednesday’s
strike by civil servants over the government’s failure to pay
salaries on time.
“We know they are being sponsored by the Western
embassies and some failed political parties,” Ignatius
Chombo, secretary for administration in the ruling
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, told
reporters late on Wednesday in Harare, the capital.
Traffic was normal on roads leading into the capital early
on Thursday.
More than 100 protesters are scheduled to appear in a
magistrate’s court on charges of involvement in public
violence, police spokeswoman Charity Charamba told
reporters.
The Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association, which called a
three-day stayaway action, said that while some students
were returning to schools, most of its members won’t go
to work.
“By and large most of our members are still on strike
despite the intimidation and threats from the authorities,”
the association’s secretary-general, John Mulilo, said by
phone.
Wednesday’s labour action was called following the
Finance Ministry’s announcement that it was delaying pay
for state workers, including the military, and riots on
Monday sparked by protests by taxi drivers over alleged
police harassment.
Mugabe’s administration has faced a worsening cash
shortage in recent months. Since abandoning its own
currency in 2009 to end hyperinflation, Zimbabwe has used
mainly US dollars, as well as rands, euros, and British
pounds. The government spends about 83% of its revenue
on wages for state workers, according to Finance Minister
Patrick Chinamasa.

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