Home » Governance » Activists Lambast Luxury Amid Poverty

The extravagant lifestyles of some of Zimbabwe’s cabinet ministers at a time most workers are suffering due to company closures was one of the topical issues spoken about at this year’s May Day celebrations at Gwanzura Stadium on Friday.

The Workers’ Day celebrations organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) were characterised by very poor attendance, but several representatives of different workers’ unions in the country and civic society groups attended.

Almost all the solidarity messages at the event blamed government for failing to manage the economy resulting in company closures and job losses.

Secretary General of the Unemployed Youth Organisation Donald Mavhudzi said government must step down as it has failed to provide jobs for the youths.

“President Robert Mugabe’s government has failed to provide jobs yet some of his ministers are building 50-bedroomed houses and living luxuriously,” Mavhudzi said in reference to allegations by former Hurungwe West MP Temba Mliswa that Environment minister, Saviour Kasukuwere was building a three-storey house in Glen Lorne.

“We want to tell Mugabe and his cabal to do the most honourable thing and step down because we are very disgruntled people who are ready to take action.”

Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) secretary general Tererai Obey Sithole said it was regrettable that 35 years after independence the number of workers in the country continued to dwindle.

“Government remains clueless on how to create jobs. There are threats that workers are even going to lose bonuses — we do not mind what Mugabe said at a certain function — but it is evidence that government has turned against its citizens and it is a chance for people to turn against government and fight the draconian move,” Sithole said.

He said whatever affected workers also affected students indirectly.

Secretary general of the Zimbabwe Association of the Unemployed Clifford Hlatshwayo, said the Look East policy was only attracting Chinese nationals, most of whom were starting business ventures that did not benefit the country.

“Our generation has the mandate to make sure we safeguard our liberation. We are not going to allow our country to be colonised by the Chinese or by black capitalists. The Chinese are brought into this country as investors, but most of the businesses they establish are bakeries and clothing shops which do not benefit Zimbabweans. We are being colonised by the Chinese and the only solution is action,” he said.

Chitungwiza Residents Trust secretary general Tinashe Kazuru said there was lack of leadership by government and local authorities who were failing to implement the social contract between government, business and workers to ensure efficient service delivery.

“Workers spend 24 months without getting paid and we want to send a g statement to Chitungwiza Municipality to look at the issue of council employees with haste,” he said.

Director of Youth in Democracy Initiative of Zimbabwe Sydney Chisi criticised politicians for meddling in issues of licensing of cellular network operators. He said the directive to cancel Telecel’s operating licence would render many workers jobless.

“Politicians are responsible because they caused companies to be under siege. It is now day 54 and we still do not know where Dzamara is? He used to speak out on behalf of workers and lack of service delivery, and we demand his return unharmed,” Chisi said.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights spokesperson Kumbirai Mafunda who is also Media Institute of Southern Africa president said there was need to amend the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) which prevented workers from demonstrating, and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) which tramples on media freedom.

Source : Zimbabwe Standard