By Africa Moyo Deputy News Editor
Industrialists have slammed the continued demonstrations being organised by the MDC-Alliance saying they were affecting production, and consequently stunting economic growth.
This comes after the MDC-Alliance has called for demonstrations in major cities, with some activists taking part in a prohibited gathering in Harare on Friday despite a ban by police and a High Court order upholding the ban.
Most employees failed to report for work due to shortage of transport as some transport operators opted not have their buses on the roads in fear of being attacked as what happened during the January 14 to 16 violent demonstrations.
Equally, some businesses did not open as a precautionary measure to prevent looting of goods, which characterised the January demonstrations.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) immediate past president Mr Sifelani Jabangwe told The Herald yesterday “demonstrations are affecting us”.
“We need to produce, but we continue to lose production time because of demonstrations and of course, electricity shortages,” he said.
“Look, we have just had a holiday (Heroes and Defence Forces Day) and we were not producing; now we lose additional production time because of these demonstrations.
“The problem we have is an economic one and we believe if we focus on reviving the economy through production, we will overcome the problem and should be able to protect the vulnerable people and those on the streets.”
Mr Jabangwe said Zimbabwe should be known “being production orientated”.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) immediate past president and Securico managing director Dr Divine Ndhlukula said: “Demonstrations obviously affect our work, alongside electricity cuts. As business, we want to produce more because that is what this economy wants. But due to demos, our employees either don’t come or report for work late. Today, (yesterday) some of our guys said they were going back home during lunch hour saying they feared transport shortages. It is a very difficult situation we are in. We have been through this (demonstrations) in the last 20 years and we seem to be circulating on the same place.”
Dr Ndhlukula called on businesspeople, politicians and all citizens who can contribute meaningfully, to “sit down” and find ways of boosting the economy.
National Business Council of Zimbabwe (NBCZ) president Mr Langton Mabhanga said: “We reiterate that this emerging culture of violence and destructive activism that is converting our young people into apprentices of hatred for fellow kindred, and destruction of national infrastructure, vendors’ wares, peace and the economic reconstruction crusade, be extricated from our societal systems.
“Confrontation will not rescue the Zimbabwean economy. Preparing for the 2019/2010 agricultural season to produce will rescue Zimbabwe. Conversion of working time to destructive stoppages and disturbances will not move the country forward.
“If only we can all focus the love that we have for our country towards doing what is best for Zimbabwe today and for the onward generations, we will be able to work ourselves out of this economic quagmire much quicker.”
Mr Mabhanga called on Government to continue protecting innocent and peace-loving citizens.