THE Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) is calling on Zimbabweans, the employed and unemployed alike, to besiege Finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s office on January 7, 2019 to demand his immediate resignation for allegedly bringing untold suffering to the masses.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Artuz president Obert Masaraure argued Ncube’s austerity measures, such as the 2% transaction tax, have “induced unprecedented suffering among the working class” and set a “stage for antagonism between the working class and the ruling elite”.
The 2% electronic transaction tax sailed through Parliament recently after getting a thumbs-up from Zanu PF legislators. Opposition legislators had opposed it saying it was punitive to ordinary Zimbabweans.
Masaraure said the unfolding “catastrophic” situation resulting from the tax as characterised by price hikes of basic commodities cannot go unchallenged before calling for a January 7 protest at Ncube’s office to push for his resignation.
“Our immediate task is to get rid of the worst enemy of the people Ncube. He is the face of austerity in Zimbabwe. To that end, we invite all citizens to Ncube’s office on January 7, 2019 at 0900hrs. We will spend the whole day demanding either an end to austerity or his resignation. Out of courtesy, we will notify the police,” Masaraure said.
Ncube has on several occasions defended the austerity measures as necessary to rid the country’s ailing economy of a crippling debt that has stalled economic growth for years.
The call came amid mounting discontent from a cross-section of civil servants demanding better remuneration or payment of salaries in United States dollar to hedge against the rising cost of living.
Junior doctors embarked on a strike on December 1 also demanding payment in United States dollars and better working conditions.
Artuz recently led an historic 275km march from Mutare to Harare protesting against poor remuneration and demanding payment in foreign currency.
Masaraure added: “The State commands institutions of brutal force; it will be naive to engage in stone throwing in a bid to avert the looming catastrophe. We should never give them a reason to shoot at our defenceless citizens. The morality of our struggle will be judged by how much we can resist provocation and remain loyal to the principal cardinal of non-violent action.”