Workers Fired For Refusing To Wear "Witchcraft" Uniforms
With local shops now fully stocked, competition amongst manufacturers of goods in Zimbabwe is very stiff, as they chase the few dollars that people have. Some of these companies are now resorting to unorthodox means to increase sales, such as the use of traditional healers (or witches, put bluntly). This has to a revolt by the sales of one Zimbabwean company that workers suspected had used witchcraft on new uniforms in order to guarantee sales. The revolting workers were told to leave the company. Fired, basically.
Harare, Zimbabwe, 23 November 2009
Forty-eight workers at Matonjeni, a manufacturer of soft drinks and beverages here in Zimbabwe have been fired for refusing to work in uniforms they say were taken to a witch (traditional healer in the politically correct local parlance) and "sorted out" in order to increase business.
The uniforms were launched at Holiday Inn Harare and workers at the hotel say they were also amazed at the way the ceremony to launch the uniforms was conducted. The exact details of the ceremony have not come to light, but it led the 48 workers to believe that they themselves were being used for "ritual purposes".
Workers who went to the media with the story said "it is better to be unemployed than to be used for ritual purposes." They refused to put on the uniform and one of the Company's directors, Buddy Jani, wrote to them saying that there was no other uniform available and that there were also no vacancies in other departments of the company.
"Since there is no option to work in any other apparel and there are no vacancies elsewhere with a uniform you would find comfortable, I regret to inform you that we have no option but to terminate your contract with immediate effect. Should the situation change or your position change, you will be offered the option to reapply for your position if it is still available," reads the letter sent fired employees.
Witchcraft is still prevalent in Zimbabwe and some local businessmen, especially in the rural areas, use all sorts of tricks to try and keep themselves afloat. One of the most common forms of this sort of thing is the use of parts from dead human beings. Some businesspeople have been arrested in the past for getting people killed in order to made good luck charms from their body parts.
Most such victims are found with lips, private parts etc cut off and one immediately knows this was a ritual murder.
It is the fact that this is a big company that is suspected of doing this that has shocked Zimbabwe and made this newsworthy. Normally, companies of such size rely on good management practice and proper things like sales strategies to increase sales.
The fact that this information is now public (and in the only daily newspaper in Harare, for that matter), makes it very unlikely that this company is going to survive, unless it changes its brand name and hides its past.
With almost 80% of Zimbabweans being staunch Christians, not many will want to go into a shop to buy any of the beverages made by this company.
Strange times, aren't they?