Zimbabwe's public services will be temporarily disrupted today as civil servants take to the streets to press for higher wages. Public servants will march to Parliament where they will petition lawmakers not to pass Finance Minister Tendai Biti's recently announced mid-term budget review which has failed to award the expected increase.
The public servants mainly made up of educators will then march to Biti's office. They are demanding a 100 % increase for the lowest paid worker. Zimbabwe says it cannot afford the increases as diamond revenue for the year is less than forecast. Public servants' salaries take up more than 60 % of Zimbabwe's budget.
The European Union has meanwhile lifted a ban on direct aid to the Zimbabwe government but a travel, asset and weapon freeze against President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle will remain.
The relaxation of the ban means it will be eligible for direct development assistance under the EU's preferential trade agreement with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. EU Zimbabwe representative Aldo Del Arricio has described this as a major breakthrough.
However, Mugabe's Zanu-PF, which has been campaigning for the removal of the sanctions against 112 members and their businesses, has dismissed the latest move as nonsense.