A government in the Bedroom! (26-07-07)

During the official opening of parliament on Tuesday, President Robert Mugabe made reference to the fact that Zimbabwe continues to lose large numbers of skilled and experienced personnel.

Therefore, ‘to halt this unsavory trend, Government will continue to review

salaries and to provide assistance in regard to housing and transport for its workforce… Apart from helping to plug skill gaps in ministries and departments, the scheme (cadetship) will also help to instill in students the sacrosanct value of commitment to the service of their country’. The President further stated that he is pleased that the response has been overwhelming, with not less than 20 000 applicants expected to be on the programme when the Universities open in August this year.

The programme of bonding that the government intends to foist on students is by all accounts, a strikingly enslaving endeavor. The programme seeks to force students to work for the government for a period of at least 3 years after finishing school. Salaries of government workers in Zimbabwe are pathetic, and have left civil servants mired in extreme poverty.

After 27 years of presiding over the collapse of the economy, where the unemployment rate is at an alarming 90% (of which the majority of the 10% who are employed are under modern slavery), inflation figures have become a mathematical nightmare. Zimbabwe ’s graduates spend at least 2 years without employment after graduating from College; some never find employment at all. The government is currently in the midst of a blitz against business, further alienating the country and increasing unemployment.

It is against such a scary background, that Zimbabwean skilled workers have opted to skip the border and utilize their skills where they get meaningful returns for their labor. Doctors, teachers, nurses and other professionals are leaving the country en’masse, justifiably so.

Yet the government never cedes in its ignominious endeavors to lay siege on the citizen’s fundamental liberties and freedom, it seeks to permeate and control every sphere of life of the citizens – a government in the bedroom!

Students, especially those from Teachers Colleges are being forced to apply for the scheme and to hand over their certificates to administration of the respective Colleges (Seke and Belvedere Teachers Colleges ). The students were told to hand over their ‘A’ and ‘O’ level certificates, failure upon which one risks expulsion.

Therefore the President, Robert Mugabe, is grossly misleading the nation if he states there is an overwhelming response when students are being forced to apply. The scheme is supposed to be voluntarily.

The Students Solidarity Trust holds that the scheme is puerile and smacks of slavery. The government is breaching the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights in Article 1 which states that ‘all peoples have the right to self determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social, economic and cultural development”

Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states ‘everyone has the right to work and to free choice of employment, yet the Cadetship Scheme forces students to work specifically for the government, in appalling conditions, and the absence of equal pay for equal work.

We refuse the condemnation of students into acute poverty in the name of patriotism, bonding students is masking the misery and poverty of the people, and like Simba Makoni, to mask poverty and misery of our people can never be what determines patriotism

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