Listen: Zimbabwe gives public sector protest the go-ahead
"Zimbabwe's protests have been spawned by years of deep-rooted economic mismanagement by the government. President Emmerson Mnangagwa took office in two thousand seventeen big promises to revive the economy. You after longtime authoritarian leader Robert Mugabe was ousted in a military coup country has to be it's different and our relations will be normalized. Peppy visit change in great shape working. It is good young yet now. Zimbabwe has the world's second highest inflation rate. Prices marked on a supermarket shelf can change by the time. The customer reaches the checkout. The crisis has brought back painful memories of two thousand eight when inflation reached five hundred billion percent wiping out people savings causing Mr Mugabe's government to abandon its currency empty shelves in the shops speak of a nation on its knees in today Zimbabwe. The situation is becoming more desperate by the day. It's already sparked plenty of rest. In January protests erupted after fuel prices more than doubled overnight. The security forces responded violently killing seventeen people. The question is whether Mr Mnangagwa's government comment will tolerate dissent at today's March. People are expecting thousands of people to go out onto the streets in protest in Zimbabwe. Jonathan Rosenthal is our Africa editor. There are some real concern for today's protests mater and violent in particular their worries about the security forces clamping down quite hard. The reason that people are concerned is that Zimbabwe's Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa has set loose. The police in the army on protesters in the past in January there were attempts to protest and people beaten again in August those very small protests that took place in it'd been banned security forces said they would arrest people who came out and small numbers did turn out and of course it's little more than a year since the election in August of last year. That also turned violent. twit the police and army shot demonstrators. Who is saying the election had been rigged and so the protests this time around? Who are the protesters in and what what did they want? The protests at the moment of very much driven by the economy. It's much more about people. Struggling to get by rather than an overtly political protests and the reason is that symbolic he's been in slow motion economic crisis for the past few years way. Its currency has been falling. It's used to have a currency was pegged to the dollar. The government is run. Run out of dollars. So it's been essentially printing it so in many it's been producing things called on notes. It's been producing a kind of an electronic money. All of these have been steadily losing value and of course Oh civil servants. Who are the biggest group of unionized employees? I have seen their pay rapidly falling buzz devaluation of the currency rampant inflation. And so does the government even have have the means to address those concerns in the short term. There is very little the government can do is broke. It is facing recession. The finance ministers expecting growth contract by about six to the seven percent this year. There is very little riddle renewed. The government's got to meet these demands to think of the notion of inflation and Zimbabwe's to think back a decade ago. When and you know you could get yourself a five hundred trillion Zimbabwean dollar note? Is there a link between what we're seeing now in the country and what we saw. Then that's absolutely right. Zimbabweans have memory memory of the rampant hyperinflation that the head in two thousand nine hundred absolutely devastated. The economy and many people are now looking at the inflation rate which the government has stopped reporting. So it's now take communists to try to guess and their estimates of around three hundred eighty four hundred percent and of course that not only brings back memories for some bog wins who are desperately trying into shot with what many they still have. We're also seeing disturbing. Echoes in the way in which the government's is responding to this so if one goes back to two thousand eight the finance minister at the time came out and said the normal laws of economics did not apply to Zimbabwe. And therefore he could printers matrimony as you want to do and that just fueled the hyperinflation and we're seeing again at the central bank in Zimbabwe as saying what it sees is a shortage of currency and it is therefore introducing yet another new currency which was going back to printing the old Zimbabwe Dolla. Paula and simply printing is not the way in which deals with inflation so the economic situation that Zimbabwe faces now is entirely down then to government economic mismanagement management or it is absolutely the result of economic mismanagement that goes back decades if one looks at the now late former President Robert Mugabe who ruled from independence in one thousand nine hundred ensler asked in two thousand seventeen Mugabe. Firstly overspent running huge deficits. He then decided the bigger idea to grab the most productive assets in the country. Entry the farms the commercial farms had mattis cronies who then mismanaged them. And we've seen ongoing economic mismanagement where the government is simply be unable to run a balanced budget control it spending and Risher investors that if they start putting many into irrigation on farms or mines or whatever it is that they want to invest in that these assets won't just get grabbed the of course the government is not taking the blame for it saying there is a drought and indeed. The rains have been bad. It is also being particularly genius when it blamed sanctions Western countries the US EU have imposed very targeted sanctions that are really targeted against the person and our punishment for being involved in gross human rights violations whereas the broad-ranging ranges and Baldwin Economic Commerce is a lot of continue unabated so if we assume that the normal laws of economics do apply in Zimbabwe. What should the government be doing instead? How could it pull itself out of this mess? The first thing to do is to simply get out of this crazy. Business of producing new currencies many people in Zimbabwe is somebody saying let's go back to the US taller. The government cannot be trusted to prince own money that would lead to quite as severe short term economic shock probably but it is something that a previous opposition government of national unity dead and stabilize the economy after the previous battle. Hyperinflation the second thing it needs to do is to come clean on. Its major export earnings Zimbabwe. Aubrey produces a lot of minerals in particular diamonds but there is very little transparency as to whether revenue from those governments control done minds ago. Many people suspect that it is disappearing disappearing into the pockets of senior people in the government in the military. Do you think that will that tells kind of wider tail. I mean what's your view on the outlook for the country. Now that it's shot of Mr Mr Mugabe and now under Mr Mnangagwa's aside from the current economic turmoil do you think the prospects are good but we has a real opportunity and that opportunity was offered search lost last year in July when it had selections and the West essentially lines up said. We're racist lending we're ready to support debt-relief and to get this economy back on its feet but in return. What we expect is a clean election and no human rights violations? And that didn't happen. There is an opportunity now. Given how deep the crisis says for governments to put his hands up essentially say okay. We're willing to take the steel into start. Enacting some real reforms in the process. Today we're really going to be seeing people coming asking for change a chance at hope and we will see today whether the government listens to that or whether it reverts to its old tactic of simply sending in the security perceive a schism piecing processes with the streets."