MDC defends right to strike (09-01-07)



Harvest House


Tel 091 940 489, 091 850 556 email :[email protected]

Strikes a vote of no confidence in the Zanu PF regime

The strikes by doctors and at ZESA as well as the go-slow in the schools, the police force and the army reflect a serious national paralysis authored and orchestrated by the Zanu PF regime.

As a labour-backed party, the MDC supports the basic freedoms of workers to engage in collective job action and to express their discontent. At the core of our social democracy philosophy is the respect of the working people and their inalienable right to demand a living wage and better working conditions. We stand in solidarity with the interests of the workers and the right to strike, which is not negotiable.

The strikes in the civil service and the time bomb of general disgruntlement in critical parastatals, industry and the whole country reflect a vote of no confidence in the Zanu PF regime. They reflect a rejection of Zanu PF’s sterile agenda of postponing misery and looting to 2010. They reflect the national sentiment that postponing Presidential elections is postponing tyranny and oppression. The strikes reflect a government that has basically collapsed. They reflect policies and systems that have dismally failed at a time when the suffering people of Zimbabwe desperately need efficient services in health, education and other critical sectors.

The MDC laments the humanitarian crisis that the regime has caused by refusing to address the grievances of the striking workers. The regime must be held accountable for the human, financial and social cost of these work stoppages. Lives have been unnecessarily lost in our hospitals, power shortages have cost this nation millions of dollars in lost production, there is strained service delivery in all sectors of the economy while morale is at an all time low among the country’s teachers, soldiers, policemen and the entire civil service in general due to poor salaries and dismal working conditions.

Ordinary Zimbabweans are struggling to bring food to their table. Pensioners are receiving pitiful monthly amounts of about $12 000. The majority of our people have resorted to selling goats, cattle and other personal belongings to meet the escalating cost of their children’s basic right to education. School fees and levies have shot up to unaffordable levels and most parents cannot simply afford to discharge of their basic obligation to educate their children. Such is the cost of the dictatorship, which has failed to address the visible signs of collapse that have engulfed our troubled nation.

The MDC believes that no worker should be dismissed for expressing themselves. We condemn the victimization of doctors and ZESA workers for exercising their democratic right to articulate their grievances through collective job action.

The strikes and protests are danger-warning signs, which can only be ignored at the risk of a full-scale national expression of discontent. In the very near future, these seemingly scattered protests shall catalyse into a bigger and more comprehensive national programme to achieve change and a new Zimbabwe. The simple message coming from the people is that the nation is restless for change. The crisis is now realizing its gestation period. It is time for delivery. We need to deliver a new Zimbabwe. The national chorus for change has engulfed the nation and the demise of the dictatorship is inevitable.

Ours is simply a crisis of governance and a leadership paralysis that requires a comprehensive political solution. The regime should be forced to embrace sweeping political reforms that include a new, people-driven Constitution, free and fair elections under international supervision, a reconstruction and stabilization programme in a post-transitional era. Zimbabwe deserves nothing less. 2007 is the year of action, the year of galvanizing all democratic forces, Zimbabweans in and outside the country to reclaim their destiny.

Nelson Chamisa, MP

Secretary for Information and Publicity

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