25/09/2017 08:43 BST | Updated 25/09/2017 09:35 BST

Zimbabweans Fear Return Of 2008-Style Economic Turmoil

The governing Zanu-PF, however, has dismissed claims Zimbabwe may be on the verge of another deep economic crisis as "fake news".

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
Zimbabwean Pastor Evan Mawarire looks on during his interview with Reuters in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 19, 2016.

Panic-buying and fuel queues have resurfaced in Zimbabwe amid fears of a looming economic crisis, despite government's stern rejection of alarm and despondency.

For the first time in years, fuel queues resurfaced in Zimbabwe's capital Harare on Saturday, according to News24. Customers at some petrol stations were reportedly being limited to a maximum of US$30 of diesel if using credit cards, if they could not pay in hard cash.

Zimbabweans, meanwhile, shared pictures on social media of customers stocking up on basic commodities at shops as panic-buying mounts.

Zimbabwe's Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo on Sunday, however, dismissed claims Zimbabwe could experience hyperinflation similar to the "days of 2008" -- when the country suffered economic collapse -- as "propaganda".

He threatened "renegades and malcontents" for spreading alarm and despondency, saying press and social media were being monitored and would consider taking action against those spreading "propaganda".

The minister's warning followed the arrest on Sunday of outspoken leader of the #ThisFlag resistance effort, pastor Evan Mawarire, following a live Facebook broadcast during which he criticised government's handling of the economy. He was charged with subverting the government for the broadcast.

Central bank chief John Mangudya, however, issued statements over the weekend attempting to placate Zimbabweans, claiming enough foreign currency was available for the importing of basic goods.

Many Zimbabweans have rebuked official statements, including former education minister David Coltart, who said: "This statement reveals just how delusional the ruining party has become -- they don't appear to notice the economic chaos all around them."

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Others expressed messages of dismay as well as criticism directed at the Mugabe family and senior politicians over lavish spending, particularly in recent weeks.