Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has accused Western embassies in his country of sponsoring the ongoing labor protests.
Through his Minister for Home Affairs, Ignatius Chombo, Mugabe criticized some Western embassies for collaborating with Zimbabwe’s opposition leaders to fund the current demonstrations by civil servants, according to Fin24.
“We have gathered from our intelligence that there was involvement of Western embassies in all these disturbances that have been taking place,” Chombo told reporters on Wednesday.
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Chombo was also quoted by New Vision in naming the French and U.S. embassies as the main sponsors of the ongoing protests, claiming they have evidence to show that the two embassies are part of a plot to ignite civil unrest in Zimbabwe with the hope of bringing about a regime change.
The Sunday Mail, a Zimbabwean state-owned newspaper, reported last week that U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe Harry Thomas and his French counterpart Laurent Delahousse met with cleric Evan Mawarire, the organizer of the ongoing protests, on different occasions.
However, Delahousse has vehemently denied these allegations terming them as “ridiculous,” “I am not in Zimbabwe to cause trouble but to help and support the people of Zimbabwe. These ridiculous accusations are certainly out of line.”
Mugabe’s Presidency on the Rocks
In recent weeks, Mugabe’s government has been facing immense pressure from civil servants who are protesting the delay of their June salaries following the announcement by the Ministry of Finance that it will be delaying salaries for public servants, including the police, military, doctors, and teachers.
This is the first time that the 92-year-old Mugabe is facing such high-level public dissent since he became Zimbabwe’s president in 1980.
Although the country’s economy has been struggling for decades, life has been a lot harder for Zimbabweans in recent months following the government’s announcement in May that it would be introducing bond notes in an attempt to address the current cash crunch in the country.
Banks in the South African country have run short of cash, forcing them to limit the amount of withdrawals each day.
The current labor action organizer Evan Mwarire has vowed to continue putting pressure on Mugabe’s administration until their demands, which include the sacking of corrupt ministers, the payment of delayed salaries, and the lifting of roadblocks that protesters say are being used by police to extort bribes, are met.
This unrest comes a few months after President Mugabe announced his intentions to run for another term in next year’s general elections.