Restrain from violence and force, Church leader pleads

Restrain from violence and force, Church leader pleads Archbishop Robert Ndlovu

After reports of multiple deaths in violent protests over steep fuel price hikes in Zimbabwe, Archbishop Robert Ndlovu of Harare has called for restraint by the security forces and protesters.

“Mature political leadership and a recognition of the need to work together for the common good” are essential, he said.

Three people, including a police officer, died in protests that followed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s announcement of a more than 150% rise in the fuel price.


“It’s difficult to get a full picture of what’s happening because the internet is still down and many people haven’t yet been able to return to work,” Archbishop Ndlovu added.

Internet services were cut on January 15 as mobile networks in the southern African nation enforced a government internet shutdown.

Catholics schools in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, were closed, along with most other schools in the country’s cities, “because of parents’ concerns for their children’s safety”, the archbishop said.

Human Rights Watch said protesters burned a police station, barricaded roads and looted shops in Harare and Zimbabwe’s second city, Bulawayo.

Security forces used guns and tear gas in response, it said. Zimbabwe has experienced an acute shortage of US dollars, which has hampered imports and caused steep price rises.

The US currency was adopted in 2009 to combat hyperinflation.