Public service strikes reveal govt’s failure

On March 27, 2018 Zimbabwean teachers under the banner of the Federation of Zimbabwean Educators Union (FZEU) held a march in Harare in protest against poor remuneration as well as poor working conditions.

The teachers demanded a salary increment and threatened to go on industrial action if their concerns are not addressed. This threatens the opening of the 2018 schools’ second term.

Over the years, the Zimbabwean government has failed to address the plight of teachers and the generality of civil servants and this has crippled critical sectors such as education and health. The failure by the government to address the plight of civil servants is indicative of its general failure in all sectors. The recent threat by teaching staff comes at a time Zimbabwean doctors have embarked on a country – wide strike that has paralyzed operations at public hospitals around the country.

Resultantly, ordinary Zimbabweans who cannot afford to seek medical treatment at private hospitals have to bear the brunt of the government’s continued failure to address the concerns of the striking doctors. Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is concerned that instead of addressing the doctors’ concerns, the government has resorted to cheap propaganda and intimidation tactics to force the health personnel to return to work.

On March 19, 2018 Health and Child Care Minister, David Parirenyatwa misrepresented to the nation that the government had reached an agreement with striking doctors and the health personnel were set to return to work. It later emerged that Honorable Parirenyatwa’s announcement was totally untrue.

According to the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA), the government simply does not care for its poor citizens, “They (government) do not value ordinary citizens’ lives and have lied to the press and the public several times. Negotiations are being done in bad faith with gross misrepresentation of facts by the Ministry and Minister.” For a government Minister to mislead the nation on critical issues is not only unprofessional but highly irresponsible. In this regard, CiZC adds its voice to growing calls for Dr. Parirenyatwa to step down.

The Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (ZCA) said that the doctors’ strike was a national crisis and a litmus test on the government’s commitment to address national issues. “We can no longer continue with this deadly impasse and the government should resolve this important issue. We call upon President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr. David Parirenyatwa to intervene and come up with a permanent solution to this problem,” said ZCA.

CiZC would like to commend the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) for its bold stance over the government’s failure to prioritize the health sector. “The Commission notes with concern that due to inadequate and poor facilities in most public health institutions, the leaders within the government of Zimbabwe generally shun the services that are a product of their policies and decisions. Instead, they seek treatment in private health facilities and even travel beyond Zimbabwean borders for health services,” said ZHRC in a statement.

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