Ten days ago, Zimbabwe’s President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, hiked the price of petrol by 250 per cent, making it the most expensive in the world. There had been an acute fuel shortage for months and this move was supposed to ease the situation — presumably by making petrol beyond the reach of most in this impoverished country.
Mnangagwa then jetted off to Russia and Kazakhstan, a warm-up tour for his gig at Davos. He left his deputy, Constantino Chiwenga (until recently head of the army), to cope with the fallout. And fallout there was. Trade unions led stay-aways in protest. This developed into the blocking of roads, looting of shops and some arson, mostly by unemployed youths — which most youths there are.
Then, under cover of a government-imposed internet blackout, the security forces were unleashed by the vice-president.