Workers have very little to celebrate at this year’s Workers’ Day commemorations on Sunday as the Zanu PF government has run down the economy, with the majority of able-bodied people now vendors and loafers, opposition political parties and analysts have said.
by Everson Mushava
Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T — born in 1999 out of the labour movement — said Zimbabwe should actually rebrand Workers’ Day to Vendors’ Day.
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said on Wednesday there was really nothing to celebrate or commemorate other than taking note of the depressing scenario that the Zanu PF regime had reneged on its promise to create 2,2 million jobs.
“Already, the regime has successfully managed to create two million vendors and loafers,” he said.
“The situation is not looking good. In fact, the labour market is very gloomy and depressed.”
Gutu called on people to join the MDC-T in demanding the two million jobs President Robert Mugabe promised ahead of the July 2013 elections that ended a coalition government with the labour-backed party.
Several companies closed shop after the polls, throwing many workers out of employment.
The situation was later exacerbated by a Supreme Court ruling last July allowing companies to fire workers on three months’ notice without further obligations.
Early this month, Tsvangirai led a demonstration against Mugabe’s failure to create the jobs and widespread corruption.
Statistics show that Zimbabwe’s workforce has been reduced over time from three million in 2000 to less than 300 000.
People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said this year’s commemorations come at a time millions of Zimbabweans were victims of a crumbling economy.
“The nation is facing insurmountable challenges underlined by a decaying economy, high unemployment and total collapse of service delivery, a ravaging drought and general hopelessness among the generality of the people,” he said.
“About 98% of youths are in the informal sector, 60% of the industries which we had operating in 2010 have shut down, 83% of our people live on less than $1 a day and our women still die while giving birth because our hospitals lack basic facilities and medicines.”
Political analyst Vivid Gwede said Workers’ Day had become a sad reminder to workers of their terrible plight.
“It is a day of mourning the death of many good things for workers.
“It’s either they are mourning a job loss, inadequate pay, months without salaries, industrial collapse, or bonuses still to be given well into the new year. It is one day which brings out the whole tale of what has gone wrong in the country.”
Another political analyst, Takura Zhangazha, said the country would always have a reason to celebrate and commemorate the day despite the myriad of economic challenges.
“This is because despite the high levels of unemployment, our country remains one that is populated by millions of working people in various areas of our political economy,” he said.