2 000 Zimbabweans Lose Jobs

Health workers protest in Harare recently (they were told by the MDC-T Minister of Health that his job was not to sort out their problems. "My job is to concentrate on policy," he told their representatives). Now it emerges that poor pay and working conditions are the least of Zimbabwean workers' problems. Jobs are still being lost and the Inclusive Government, despite its best efforts to lie, can now no longer hide its failures

Harare, Zimbabwe, 26 November 2009

Here a shocker of Zimbabwe news.

Two thousand Zimbabwean workers have been retrenched so far this year, parliament was told yesterday by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).

Elijah Mutemeri, coordinator for ZCTU, told a parliamentary committee that most of these were retrenchments from companies facing viability problems, while the rest were simply victims of companies that are closing down.

The ZCTU, being a body concerned with workers, has simply concentrated on ensuring that the workers get their dues, splitting time between the Labour Court and the Retrenchment Board.

Some workers, Mutemeri says, are still going for months without getting their salaries and wages.

There are those who are being retrenched, the ZCTU says, and then there are those who simply show up for work to find the gates locked, only to be told that their company has shut down.

Like the ZANU PF government before it, the Inclusive Government of Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe would rather these things are not spoken about, which helps nobody.

The 2 000 ZCTU mention is an underestimation.

As I write, I know that rooms (in the high-density areas, or townships) and flats are falling vacant at an alarming rate. People are simply vacating them after they fail to pay rents.

Muggings and robberies are on the increase. We are not yet at the level of South Africa but even this rise is shocking for Zimbabweans. It used to be that when we were growing up, locking doors at night was not strictly necessary.

Now, deadbolts, razor-wire and every other security measure you can think of is employed to safeguard property.

One fundamental question: with all this going on, some people, especially the new kids on the "government" block (it is no government, believe me), are desperate to tell us that things are improving in the country.

They even attempted to lie that production has risen, but shop shelves full of goods and trinkets from South Africa and Dubai and China expose the lie.

Having said that, it is also important to recognise that the 2 000 figure quoted by the ZCTU is an underestimation. There are those who are not going to the labour body because they do not have a union.

Then there are those who have been surviving through "kiya kiya" (as the Finance Minister would put it - it means improvising in Zimbabwe slang) who now can not do so because there are no longer opportunities available in Zimbabwe for that sort of thing.

So, the bottom line is that, instead of creating jobs, the Inclusive Government of Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai is presiding over job losses.

Instead of increasing production, the Inclusive Government is presiding over the death of our productive industries and we are now a nation of shopkeepers and consumers (well, not even consumers, because very few have the money to buy things to consume).

It is a sad state of affairs indeed.

Almost a year after the Inclusive Government was formed, we are now faced with even more hardship and danger to life and limb worse than it was under the previous dispensation. I say this because under the Zimdollar dispensation, Zimbabweans were safe: no one ever thought of robbing anyone of their Zimdollars because they were so useless.

The answer to all this, of course, would be to ensure that there are policies in place to encourage job creation. Industrial production capacity needs to go up and we need to start by looking at how to allow companies still operating to reinvest in their businesses.

Rationalisation of the government, through reducing the size of this bloated government, would ensure that we start on the right note.

D not hold your breath, though. The MDC is fighting to make government even bigger, while ZANU PF has a culture of making sure they bleed the country dry. Zimbabweans are still, to this day, the second most highly-taxed people in the world and we have nothing to show for those taxes.

This government is dangerous and needs to come to an end soon so that people with the right ideas and policies can step in and rescue a Zimbabwe with potential.


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