Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter—
ZIMBABWEANS went about their daily chores yesterday with shops, banks, transport operators and other service providers opening for business as usual with no reports of violence. The Zimbabwe Defence Forces announced early yesterday morning that they had taken action to pacify the degenerating political, social and economic situation in the country which, if left unchecked, would have resulted in violent conflict.
Their intervention, they emphasised, was not a coup but corrective action necessitated by circumstances as they upheld their allegiance to their Commander-in-Chief, President Robert Mugabe. To this end, they urged people to go about their normal business without let or hindrance saying they were committed to upholding people’s rights and freedoms.
In separate interviews yesterday, representatives of different entities said it was business as usual. Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Mr Sifelani Jabangwe said business was unhindered yesterday as they traded without any disturbances. “It was normal. From what we got from our members in Harare, Bulawayo and other towns it was a normal trading day. There were no disturbances at all. Our members will continue trading as normal,” said Mr Jabangwe.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Mr Denford Mutashu said their members traded normally throughout the day yesterday. “We actually got reports not only from Harare but in other towns that business was normal. Initially business had started low in the morning owing to traffic jams. It later picked up and traded normally. Actually we have been speaking to several retailers that have been calling us from different parts of the country and we assured them to continue working,” said Mr Mutashu.
“We are happy that there has not been any disruption because ultimately it is the economy that we want to grow. We urge people to continue going to work.” He said those businesses that delayed opening as a precautionary measure subsequently traded upon realising that there would be no disturbances.
Everything was normal on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange whose main industrial index, at the close of trading yesterday, was down 1,28 percent to 527,27, while the mining index remained unchanged. Turnover for the day at $13,6 million was slightly lower than $15 million on Tuesday. Greater Harare Association of Commuter Operators secretary-general Mr Ngoni Katsvairo said kombis were operating normally owing to the prevailing peace and calm.
“It has been normal. Kombis have been operating normally. It was business as usual and we have urged them to continue. We just hope that the calmness will continue to prevail. I have moved around the central business district in Harare and I have also been receiving reports from our members. We did not get any reports of any incident occurring. Kombis have been carrying people normally,” said Mr Katsvairo.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary-general Mr Japhet Moyo said workers were going about their daily chores unhindered. He said they did not receive any reports of disruption of any business activity.
“Business has been normal although it started on a low note. As workers we have realised that whatever is happening, it is not targeting workers. Our colleagues in uniform have their own targets and not our members who are the workers. As a result there was no business that was disrupted throughout the day and across the whole country according to reports we have been receiving,” said Mr Moyo.
He said some workers expressed concern whether they would be able to travel safely back home from work. “We assured them that there was nothing to fear because they were not the targets by our colleagues in camouflage,” he said. Several people spoken to in central Harare confirmed calm was the order of the day. There were queues at banking halls and vendors were on the streets trading. Clinics and hospitals were open and attending to patients.