PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday blasted civil servants for going on strike, saying they were ignorant of the challenges the country is facing.
BY EVERSON MUSHAVA/REJOICE CHINGWARU
Addressing about 3 000 Zanu PF supporters at a rally in Bindura last night, Mugabe also claimed Wednesday’s massive anti-government protests were sponsored by the country’s detractors who did not understand that Zimbabwe was under sanctions.
He said teachers, doctors and nurses, who went on strike demanding their delayed salaries, were doing so because they had never been subjected to the suffering his generation went through to liberate the country.
Mugabe said there was nothing unusual about paying civil servants late.
“Those who go on strike, they do not understand our problems. It does not mean we are poor, but we are getting our money late because of sanctions. Businesses are not banking their money. This is where we take the money to pay our civil servants,” Mugabe said.
“We will address it. It is temporary. Teachers, nurses and doctors go on strike when we only delayed their salaries, not that we will not pay them. It is because some of them do not understand how bad things are because they have never been in the liberation struggle. There was no money, but we sacrificed.”
Mugabe said protesters and striking civil servants should understand that the country was under sanctions and its money was being intercepted.
He said the decision to print bond notes was to counter the challenges the country was facing as it could not print the United States currency.
The 92-year-old leader claimed bond notes were real money and urged people to embrace them.
He also warned the military against using force against churches that have voluntarily supported the party.
The remarks came amid reports that Mashonaland Central-based Vadzidzi VaJesu Apostolic Church founder and patriarch, 94-year-old Aaron Mhukuta, also known as Madzibaba Wimbo, was being held against his will in Madziwa and that of his family by church zealots, who have allegedly been making money out of him for over a
Some top military officers were allegedly protecting Wimbo’s abductors amid reports that one of his sons was left for dead by soldiers after an ill-fated attempt to rescue the church leader.
Mugabe visited Wimbo’s shrine before attending the rally.
“Guns cannot lead the party. The party is bigger than the gun. We want this to be known. Others from the military might have forgotten this. We should not deploy soldiers to harass our people,” Mugabe told the Zanu PF supporters.
He apologised for keeping people waiting for him for the whole day, saying his visit to Bindura was meant to address challenges facing Zanu PF in Mashonaland Central province.
He said because of time constraints, he had failed to resolve the burning political issues in the province and had appointed a committee to try to build peace in the struggling party.