Harare – The total shutdown, dubbed “Shut Down Take 3”, planned by activists #Tajamuka, largely went unheeded last month, with most Harare residents opting to go about their normal businesses.
Zimbabwe being predominantly an informal economy, citizens could be pardoned for not paying much attention to the calls to stay home as a way of forcing President Robert Mugabe, 92, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, to step down. Although most people might agree with the #Tajamuka activists that the president has overstayed and in the process had contributed to the ruin that the country has found itself in, many would disagree on the means of achieving the goal.
Former Zanu PF legislator, Temba Mliswa, said the shutdown, despite noble intentions, had disastrous consequences considering that the majority of the people were now in the informal sector and stood to lose a lot. “The country’s industrial capacity utilisation is less than 35 percent and unemployment is at 80 percent, so you would realise that most people have joined in the informal sector in order to cushion themselves, so naturally a shutdown in that environment is most likely not to be successful,” he said.
Gwaze said the informal sector was also controlled by Zanu PF, with high ranking officials owning corner shops which they let out for patronage.
“So supporting a shutdown will be perceived as going against the party; which has drastic consequences. There are chances that those that are in solidarity with the citizens would be labelled, victimised because the party has the oiled machinery to ensure that such companies are shut down,” he said.