Civil unrest in Zimbabwe amid IMF Staff Monitored Programme

3 October 2019

In August, amid an IMF Staff Monitored Programme (SMP) – an informal agreement between country authorities and IMF staff to monitor the implementation of an economic programme – the opposition party in Zimbabwe called for strikes, as the government imposed austerity measures and tried to launch a new currency.

Union leader Obert Masaraure told UK newspaper The Guardian in August, “They are celebrating budget surpluses but they are not paying workers.” The SMP May report stressed that “spending pressures” on wages and social support could “jeopardize fiscal goals”.

In July, online news site ZimLive quoted the deputy minister of defence Victor Matemadanda as saying that the constitution allowed the government to deploy the army to confront protesters and warned that soldiers are trained to kill. Grave concerns have been raised about the current administration’s human rights record. The developments are the latest in a long line of concerns around the potentially destabilising role of IMF programmes (see Observer Summer 2018, Autumn 2019).