If the world ever needed an illustration of how fragile the economies of the so-called globalised world then look no further than the recent “food riots” in Mozambique. Analysts have attributed the matter to global warming that has contributed to draughts in wheat producing Russia and other East European countries.
Here is one of the dangers of the “globalised economy” – draught in Russia “forces” 30% bread increase in Mozambique. This increase meant that people in Mozambique were paying U.S 20 cents for bread – their staple food. In a country where an average worker takes home 37 U.S Dollars, this is way beyond the means of the majority of the people. As if this was not bad enough, water and electricity prices also went up.
This is an illustration of a horror punishment that the government of Mozambique decided to impose on its poor people. The very same people the government is meant to be saving. If the bread price increase indeed had everything to do with the soaring global prices of wheat, what about the electricity and water? Isn’t this just a case of the government taking an opportunity to rise prices? Or is it just a catastrophic failure of the governance?
People of Mozambique courageously took to streets in protest – it has been called “riots.” After several days of protest, or “rioting” 13 dead people, 400 injuries and 286 arrests, the Mozambique government decided to reverse the prices. A decision that the government earlier arrogantly said was “irreversible.”
According to Aljazeera, the decision to reverse the prices was reached after an emergency cabinet meeting. A statement from the meeting said government would “maintain the previous price of bread through the introduction of a subsidy.”
This decision shows that the “riots”, the deaths, the injuries and the arrests were all avoidable. You can be assured that the government of Mozambique will not take responsibility for it. Meanwhile, the fracas has been sold to the international community as “food riots” in order to push the blame on the protesters. This is not entirely true. It was poor governance at its worst. Mozambican government is happy with the “food riots” angle because there is an explanation for it – they can not explain the water and the electricity increase.
Mozambique government did not see these “riots” coming. Or they arrogantly thought they can see it off. I am well pleased that the people took their own responsibility and fight for what is right. People have the power. Mozambicans have proved it. Maybe this is what Africa needs after all. People standing up against injustice. As Bob Dylan sang, “The times they are a changing.” And “It’s Blowin’ in the Wind.” Some African governments may just learn a lesson here. Good will always prevail over evil – this is a victory of good over evil.