via Workers reduced to beggars, refugees – New Zimbabwe 30/04/2015
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF party have reduced Zimbabwe’s working class “to beggars and vendors while millions of others have been forced to seek economic refuge in other countries”.
The damning assessment of Mugabe’s 35 years in power was made by opposition MDC Renewal leader, Sekai Holland, in her message commemorating this year’s International Workers’ Day on 01 May.
Holland said coming soon after Zimbabwe’s 35th independence anniversary, this year’s May Day is a moment to take stock of what the country has achieved since ending racist settler minority rule in 1980.
The assessment however, makes for sad reading as the country’s social, economic and political situation remains in intensive care, said Holland.
“We commemorate this day when we face uncertainty on whether we will be able to afford the next meal to feed our families while thousands of children are failing to attend school as we cannot afford the school fees and uniforms,” she said.
“As parents, most workers are failing to pay for basic medical treatment for their families as medical fees are now expensive and beyond their reach.
“Millions of our brothers and sisters who have been forced to seek for employment and refuge in neighbouring South Africa, are living in total fear due to recent xenophobic attacks and threats in that country.”
Since being re-elected in 2013, Mugabe has struggled to right the country’s comatose economy with the government’s ZimAsset economic programme failing to take off due to lack of funding.
Promises for two million new jobs have failed to materialise in an economy with an estimated 80 percent unemployment.
Instead, hundreds of companies continue to close and lay off workers as the country’s economy dramatically nears collapse, said Holland.
“Thousands of workers still fortunate to be employed are going for months without salaries while others are getting half of their monthly salaries as the companies fail to cope with the harsh economic conditions,” she said.
“The policy inconsistencies in the Zanu PF government continue with civil servants receiving conflicting statements on whether they will get this year’s annual bonuses or not.”
The MDC Renewal leader also criticised the government’s decision to shut-down the country’s second largest mobile phone operator, Telecel Zimbabwe, which has about two million subscribers.
Potraz, the industry regulator, said Telecel was being shut-down for not complying with indigenisation laws and failing to pay its licence renewal fee.
Said Holland: “The same clueless government is pushing for the unemployment of thousands of workers as it moves into close Telecel.
“The mobile operator employs thousands of people while thousands more benefit downstream from services offered by the company through selling airtime and mobile cash transfers.
“It is a sad period for the hard working people of Zimbabwe that the Zanu PF government has failed to show leadership at such a critical moment.”
She added: “As the MDC Renewal Team, we urge the Zanu PF government to seriously consider the plight of the ordinary Zimbabwean worker and put in place sound social and economic policies that will benefit the ordinary.
“Zanu PF should stop spending time on petty factional and infighting fights that do not benefit the people. It is criminal and heartless for Zanu PF to let the people of Zimbabwe suffer because of its greed and corruption.
“President Robert Mugabe and his wife should stop immediately their endless and irrelevant foreign trips that benefit no-one but gobble the country’s Treasury millions of dollars of the much need foreign currency.
“As a labour based organisation, the MDC Renewal Team urges the working population of this country to remain focused, united and peaceful as we embark on the last journey towards achieving a better Zimbabwe for all.
“You have suffered for a long period under an uncaring and anti-labour dictatorship and the end of that era is imminent.”