PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s ruling party accused Western embassies of sponsoring Wednesday’s strike by civil servants over the government’s failure to pay salaries on time.
“We know they are being sponsored by the Western embassies and some failed political parties,” Ignatius Chombo, secretary for administration in the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, told reporters late on Wednesday in Harare, the capital.
Traffic was normal on roads leading into the capital early on Thursday.
More than 100 protesters are scheduled to appear in a magistrate’s court on charges of involvement in public violence, police spokeswoman Charity Charamba told reporters.
The Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association, which called a three-day stayaway action, said that while some students were returning to schools, most of its members won’t go to work.
“By and large most of our members are still on strike despite the intimidation and threats from the authorities,” the association’s secretary-general, John Mulilo, said by phone.
Wednesday’s labour action was called following the Finance Ministry’s announcement that it was delaying pay for state workers, including the military, and riots on Monday sparked by protests by taxi drivers over alleged police harassment.
Mugabe’s administration has faced a worsening cash shortage in recent months. Since abandoning its own currency in 2009 to end hyperinflation, Zimbabwe has used mainly US dollars, as well as rands, euros, and British pounds. The government spends about 83% of its revenue on wages for state workers, according to Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa.-Bloomberg