The boycott was scheduled to start yesterday and end today but it was business as usual in Bulawayo, Gweru, Masvingo, Gwanda and Harare although a handful of white-owned shops in the capital did not open for business. The Harare outlets that did not open for business yesterday included Food Lovers Market, Nandos and KFC.
The Government gave such businesses a stern warning, saying they should surrender their licences if they did not want to operate in Zimbabwe. Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo said appropriate action would be taken against such businesses.
Dr Chombo was accompanied by Ministers Sydney Sekeramayi (Defence), Kembo Mohadi (State Security), Chris Mushohwe (Information), Joseph Made (Agriculture) and Deputy Home Affairs Minister Obedingwa Mguni.
In Bulawayo, businesses, school children, informal traders and ordinary workers turned a deaf ear to the call despite social media and opposition claims that citizens were ready to turn against the government.
Residents who spoke to The Chronicle condemned stayaways, saying they destroy the economy and create confusion in the country.
“These stayaways don’t help us in any way. They destroy the economy and bring unrest among the people. If people want to change the Government they know the procedure. It’s done through the ballot box not stayaways.
“Those who think that all the challenges that the country is facing are caused by the Government, can vote in 2018 to bring in a new Government,” said Zibusiso Ngwenya from Cowdray Park.
Khethiwe Sibanda, a vendor in the city centre said stayaways only worsen the situation as they are left with no money to feed their families.
“My husband was retrenched from formal work and we’re both vendors. We survive on selling fruits and vegetables. We’re struggling to send our two children to school and feed them. This means we’ve to work every day to put food on the table. We can’t afford to miss a day from work. I’m sure there’s a better way of seeking an audience with the Government and mapping the way forward,” said Mrs Sibanda.
An official at one of the leading supermarkets in Bulawayo, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said stayaways were dreamt up by ill-advised people.
“We decided to ignore the stayaway because the country is in the process of transforming the economy and it’s everybody’s duty to be part of that transformation. Stayaways will not help us.
“We need to work hard to revive the economy and shun negative activities that only worsen poverty in the country,” he said.
In Gweru residents totally disregarded the stay away. Teachers and pupils showed up at schools on time. By 7:30AM the town was busy.
In Kwekwe, it was business as usual. Leading supermarkets such as TM, OK, Dezzil and banks opened as usual. In Masvingo, no one took heed of the stayaway call.
The much-touted shutdown was a huge flop in Gwanda as trade and commercial activities progressed smoothly.
Residents went about their usual business. The police were conspicuous by their absence in the streets. Civil servants were at work up to knock off time.
Schools hosted the National Association of Primary School Heads (Naph) games without incident.
Gwanda provincial hospital which is the major government referral hospital in the province was operating at full throttle, as well as the clinics.
Minister Chombo said the security situation was calm.
He applauded Zimbabweans for heeding the Government’s assurance that there would be adequate security to ensure normal running of business countrywide.
“Let me on behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe thank once again all peace-loving Zimbabweans for taking heed of our reassurance that police will provide a safe and secure environment for them to go about their businesses,” he said.
“This was despite the concerted effort by civil and pressure groups such as #Tajamuka, Occupy Africa Unity Square and #thisflag who were pushing for the shutdown. It shows how Zimbabweans have matured and are not being pushed into engaging in unlawful activities.
“However, I am informed by the police that there were few negligible disturbances of burning of tyres which were noted in Chipinge. Police responded and managed to arrest four suspects in Chipinge.
“The law enforcement agents will continue to arrest peddlers of subversive messages and all those who are inciting violence and conducting unlawful meetings.”
Minister Chombo noted that in some cases these rogue elements were creating fake documents purported to be police statements encouraging people not to go to work.
He said investigations were underway to bring the culprits to book.
Said Minister Chombo: “In a related incident, an internal memo purported to be created from Econet and Delta Corporation was circulated advising workers to stay away from work.
“The workers defied these false messages and reported for work. Police have since verified with the management of these companies and also established that these messages were circulated by misguided elements.
“We also want to confirm the suspicion that we always had on the involvement of the white community to effect regime change which is part if their known agenda for quite some time. Yes, together we will overcome these challenges.”
Minister Chombo said the law would take its course on anyone found engaging in acts of sabotage, incitement and threatening members of the public against going about normal day today activities. chronicle
THE countrywide mass stayaway flopped spectacularly yesterday, according to the Chronicle.