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THERE was drama at Gwanzura Stadium Thursday afternoon when a junior government official was jeered by angry workers after mentioning the government’s economic blue-print ZimAsset in his speech.

Francis Mafuratidze, a director in the ministry of labour and social welfare, was subjected to angry boos as he tried to present a speech on behalf of his boss, Nicholas Goche, during May Day commemorations in the capital.

ZimAsset was cobbled up by the ruling Zanu PF government after the party’s July 2013 election triumph which is disputed as fraudulent by rivals.

Zanu PF said the programme would deliver more than one million new jobs the party promised during the election campaign as well as trigger bumper recovery and growth of the country’s economy.

But struggling ordinary Zimbabweans have seen little, if any of, the promised million new jobs with company closures continuing while economic recovery remains elusive although government says it is too early to expect positive results.

“ZimAsset – it is envisaged that an enabling environment for sustainable social economic development empowerment and transformation for the people of Zimbabwe would be realised. ZimAsset… ,” Mafuratidze started when he drowned out by stadium-wide booing from angry workers.

ZCTU secretary general Japhet Moyo had jump onto the podium, pleading with the unimpressed audience to let Mafuratidze finish his speech but it was like pouring petrol on fire as the workers would not listen to his plea.

“Listen Comrades no we must not do that (booing). Listen let me tell you, as workers we talk with all the political parties.),” Moyo insisted.

He added: “It has been made very clear that if a person is Zanu PF – speak with that person ndizvoka. We want discipline.

“Vanhu vanotaura panoapa vanofanirwa kupihwa mukana wekutaura hatidi zvamurikuita izvozvo. (People who come to the podium should be given an opportunity to speak).”

However, Moyo’s plea was fruitless as Mafuratidze was forced to cut-shot his speech as workers began to sing songs as a way of protesting the issue of the ZIMASSET under which the government promises to create two million jobs but nothing has materialised so far.

“Okay what I am going to do is I am going to summarise the minister’s speech,” Mafuratidze said skipping the subject of the ZimAsset.

ZimAsset (2013-2018) was extracted from the ruling Zanu PF party’s election manifesto and modelled along China’s development programme.

It is based on a two-pronged approach – the quick fix (2013-15) and the long term -of dealing with the woes confronting the economy. And, typical of previous development plans created by the party over the years, the issue of economic sanctions is echoed.

Analysts say the policy will fail as the State wants to be in control instead of ensuring a favourable environment was in place for businesses to thrive.

ZCTU president George Nkiwane said ZimAsset was crafted without consultations.

He said: “It is based on the Zanu PF manifesto and Presidential speeches hence it suffers from limited public ownership and is narrow. There is no mention of a national employment strategy, giving the impression that this will come from ‘trickle down.’

“It is based on the sanctions narrative and blame game-external factors are given prominence. The blue print also reads as an expanded party manifesto-an outline of aspirations, notably, the limited fiscal space and absence of debt resolution may limit new sources of funding.”

Nkiwane said ZimAsset does not mention the need for social dialogue and negotiating a social contract and there is also “no mention of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) and therefore did not build on the Kadoma Declaration.”

The May Day was commemorated under the theme Workers Intensify the Struggle! No to labour market Flexibility.

Hundreds of workers thronged Gwanzura Stadium for the event.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai attended the commemorations accompanied by party’s secretary general Tapiwa Mashakada, national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa, Morgan Komichi and Job Sikhala among others.

Source : New Zimbabwe

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