Maxwell Sibanda 4 May 2017
HARARE – Zimbabwe this week joined the rest of the world in commemorating
Workers’ Day celebrated worldwide on May 1 as unemployment in the country
hovers at a staggering 90 percent.
When Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980, the new leadership inherited a
vibrant industry that employed millions of workers but 37 years down the
line most companies have closed down due to misrule and corruption sending
employees onto the street.
At the few companies that are still operating, salaries for workers is
never on time with others owed several months of unpaid wages.
When President Robert Mugabe won the controversial 2013 presidential
elections, his Zanu PF party promised to create two million new jobs but
four years today nothing has materialised.
Most urban dwellers qualified with univesity degrees have now turned into
vending as the job market remains dry while teachers and nurses that have
graduated in recent years have failed to secure jobs.
Skilled Zimbabweans have fled the country in droves as job opportunities
remain remote while the few who remain employed having nightmares
accessing their salaries at banks.
Mining activist Farari Maguwu said May 1 is a day to reflect and mourn the
death of our industry. “It is a day to rethink strategies that can revamp
the economy so people can earn stable income and be able to plan their
“It is up to government to put in place policies that attract investment
and unlock our economic potential.”
Southern Africa Director at Human Rights Watch director Dewa Mavhinga said
the government should focus on good governance, rule of law and human
rights respect in order to create an open, stable, and conducive
environment to grow businesses and revive the economy and ultimately
create jobs for workers.
“Without a solid rule of law based foundation, Zimbabwe cannot attract the
right investors who create jobs; it will only attract crooks and cronies
out to plunder whatever remains on the country’s resources.
“Bad governance and human rights abuses do not only keep investors away,
more critically, they drive away the country’s economically productive age
group that is forced into exile to earn a decent living.
“Millions of Zimbabweans scattered across the world are ready to come home
and contribute to development, but only when conditions are right and when
they expertise and knowledge is valued without any partisan or nepotistic
“The government should encourage professionalism and meritocracy in all
spheres and do away with partisan or corrupt tendencies,” said Mavhinga.
Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said: “We have millions of Zimbabweans
toiling in the informal sector and formal sector where salaries and
returns are irregular and inconsistent. “These are the real women and men
responsible for Zimbabwe today. They are the ones making Zimbabwe ticking
in spite of adversity and lack of governance.
“This is a special day for all workers in formal and informal sectors who
are making Zimbabwe stand today without a government. These are the real
heroes of Zimbabwe worth celebrating today not the looting politicians.”
ZESN director Rinda Vava said her organisation joins the rest of the world
in commemorating the workers day by reminding workers to participate in
all electoral processes in particular the impending news voter
registration exercise and the 2018 elections.
“We call upon workers to exercise their right to vote which gives them the
power to hold elected officials to account to ensure that a conducive and
enabling environment for workers is established,” said Vava.
MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said over the past 37 years of Zanu PF misrule
and gross mismanagement of the economy, the formal employment sector has
virtually collapsed as the majority of majority of companies and
businesses have either completely closed shop or drastically reduced their
“The Zimbabwean economy now largely exists in the informal sector where
millions of people are vendors and small scale informal traders. We have a
very clear and unambiguous message to the faction-ridden and collapsing
Zanu PF regime: they should simply step down and give way to a responsible
and caring government.
“The Zanu PF regime is now beyond redemption, it is beyond reformation. On
the other hand, the MDC is a social democratic political party that will
establish an egalitarian and people-centred government that will focus on
stabilizing the economy, creating new jobs, respecting and upholding the
rule of law and private property rights.
“We will create an environment that will secure safety nets for the
vulnerable members of society such as the aged, pensioners, the widowed
and orphaned children.
“The State will ensure that basic social amenities such as primary health
care, education, water and electricity are made readily available to the
majority of the people. More importantly, an MDC government will
ruthlessly clamp down on corruption,” said Gutu.