Crushing demos won’t create jobs

via Crushing demos won’t create jobs – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 10, 2015

REPORTS that police in Harare at the weekend brutally crushed a Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions-organised demonstration against continued job losses are a sad reminder of how President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF have morphed into capitalists who no longer represent the wishes of the majority.

The goings-on in Zimbabwe today are a clear reflection of a regime that has betrayed the working people of this country by abandoning the Socialist character — itself the cornerstone of the liberation struggle.

Police actions also show that Zanu PF and its leadership are impervious to democracy where people can within the confines of the Constitution express themselves through demos.

Yet, the demonstrators had a just cause to express their anger towards Zanu PF’s failure to halt the massive job losses that have left nearly 20 000 people offloaded onto the streets following a Supreme Court ruling last month.

The majority of Zimbabweans trying to eke out a living through vending have also been thrown out of the lucrative central business district to the periphery of most urban centres countrywide. Zanu PF through its party structures is again at the forefront of ejecting the people from all lucrative sites especially in the capital.

The demonstrations were meant to force government to act to stop the job losses triggered by the Supreme Court giving companies the right to terminate workers’ contracts on notice and without benefits.

Companies have seized the opportunity to offload hordes of long-serving employees to cut costs.

Frankly, companies cannot be blamed as the operating environment is tight and the economy hurtling towards a blackhole.

But it is Mugabe’s deafening silence that shows that the Zanu PF-led government was eager to save their companies from paying the workers their dues.

If there was political will on the part of Mugabe, the ruthless firing of workers could have been stopped a long time ago.

It is important to note that the Constitution provides for the right of workers to demonstrate to register their grievances, and while the police are to be notified of such actions, it does not make sense to crush your own people with a genuine cause.

We believe that the timing of the job losses could not have been coincidental.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa was last week quoted saying (with the job losses) Zimbabwe was laying the groundwork for a robust and sound policy framework on the basis of which the country should see economic recovery.

The relocation of vendors to less lucrative business points, the banning of second-hand clothing imports that had provided succour for the poor over many years and the massive job losses should speak to government devising ways to protect the worker in the face of the storm.

The reluctance to act against these developments and Mugabe’s politicking by describing the law as an ass simply confirms our fear that the centre cannot longer hold for Zanu PF and government.

Perhaps it will be a lesson to the majority not to be hoodwinked by Zanu PF again in the future. The party had promised to create 2, 2 million jobs, but just 24 months later thousands of the working class have lost their jobs without protection from both government, Zanu PF or Mugabe.

While it is an open secret the bloated civil service was drawing over 80% of the National Budget, something that is clearly unsustainable for such a small economy, it important to balance the two competing forces.

It is important for State actors to realise Zimbabwe’s economy simply needs fresh capital.

For that to happen national politics should change, Zanu PF must give evidence that it is amenable to reforms for the benefit of the country. Government cannot continue playing solitaire if it is to revive the economy and hard decisions must be made.

We believe the prevailing situation will help the country take on a new political and socio-economic trajectory to bring economic stability and restore the populace’s lost hope.

Populism will not work. Mugabe must work towards relinquishing his stranglehold on power both in the Zanu PF party and government for Zimbabwe to prosper.

No doubt, Heroes day has lost its lustre.