Unemployment, injustice fuels unrest: ILO

Low incomes, injustice, high food costs, heavy-headedness of security forces and an educated but unemployed population are some of the key factors central to causing unrest.

A grim report issued by the International Labour Organization last week said the global economy was on a verge of a new and deeper recession – and developing countries like Zimbabwe would not be spared.

“Perception of economic and social disparities and increasing social exclusion is said to have a negative impact on social cohesion and tends to lead to social unrest,” says the report.

In Zimbabwe there discontent is fermenting as people endure harassment from the police, the army and Zanu (PF)-aligned groups such as Chipangano.

Citing the Arab spring that saw revolutions toppling entrenched dictatorial regimes such as the Libyan government ruled by Muammar Gaddafi for over four decades, the report says high food prices are a key determinant of social unrest.

Even though there is macroeconomic stability in Zimbabwe, month to month inflation has increased and prices of basic commodities have gone up.

“In addition to collective frustrations regarding the democratic process, rising food prices were also central to the developments associated with the Arab Spring,” noted the report.

The past weeks have been characterized by a police clampdown that saw rallies by the MDC-T led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai being denied political space, while police teargassed civilians on Tuesday for no apparent reason.

Commenting on the police, co-Minister of Home Affairs Teresa Makone said that eventually people will say enough is enough.

“There is nothing more powerful than people power and one day people will say enough is enough,” Makone told SWRadio recently. The ILO report corroborated this view.

“In countries where the State has resorted to excessive use of force to tackle social upheavals instead of focusing on the actual causes of unrest, such actions have often exacerbated the situation.”

Countries with large populations of young, educated people with limited employment prospects tend to experience the most unrest. Zimbabwe has a literacy rate of above 90 percent and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions estimates that unemployment is at least 80 percent.

Post published in: Business

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