Yet, these are not some red-nosed, face-painted, brightly dressed, and oversized-boot wearing imbecilic Bozos – although, they surely act the part – but, a bunch of well-dressed, highly-learned, and high-sounding men and women, who are supposed to be in charge of the affairs of an entire republic.
Otherwise, how would anyone characterize a government that has a whole cabinet minister who has the temerity to accuse teachers – whose monthly salaries were criminally and unfairly reduced from an already pathetic US$540 per month in 2018, to today’s average of a sickening and insulting US$187 – of seeking to “destabilize the country”, for merely standing up for their rights for their legitimate wages to be restored?
This “honorable” minister did not stop his wild rantings there, but proceeded to point a finger at some unnamed Western governments for funding teachers’ organizations, in the hope of “inciting civil unrest” within Zimbabwe – a now all-too-familiar unverified and unconvincing “broken record” claim, which those in power have always pulled out of their near-empty bag of excuses, whenever exposed for their shameless inaptitude, willful injustices, and wanton corruption.
If this were a comic skit by some clowns in a circus, I would have been rolling on the floor in an uncontrollable fit of laughter – but then, this is real life, and there are real lives at stake here.
Surely, would the minister of public service, Paul Mavima, care to explain to us mere mortals – who may not be smart enough to grasp these intricate issues – how any one is expected to survive in a measly US$187 a month?
To make matter worse, these are our teachers, whose tremendous role in nation building can never be overemphasized – since, every country is founded and shaped through the work of these amazing men and women, who impart learning and knowledge on all of us…yet, are hardly thanked for it.
Can the minister himself live (and, adequately fend for his family) on US$187 a month – with any measure of respectability and honour?
If he can, then, may he kindly share his phenomenal budgetary skills with the nation – in order for all of us to learn one or two things.
Maybe, just maybe, if he manages to convince us, we may be tempted to believe that these complaining teachers are, indeed, nothing more than foreign-funded mercenaries, who harbor nefarious ill-intentions for our beautiful Zimbabwe.
However, as the situation currently stands, not even a domestic worker should be demeaned by such an inhumane salary.
As a matter of fact, all our civil servants deserve dignified living wages – not loans, which will only sink them deeper in the hole of indebtedness and poverty.
That is why, the government’s deceitful and crooked GEMS (Government Employee Mutual Savings) Fund, launched in February this year, is a big no no, and a fraud.
Workers’ first preference is to be paid livable, dignified, and fair salaries, and they do not expect their employers to turn into loan sharks, as a way of hiding from paying them (employees) what they deserve.
Yes, indeed, an employer may offer employees loans (especially at concessionary rates), but first, they must fulfill their wages obligations.
Furthermore, the 2018 monthly salary of US$540 that these teachers are clamouring for, is far from being adequate – considering how much others of the same profession are earning across the southern African region.
Instead of always seeking to blame others for their own failures, the government of Zimbabwe need to wake up to the fact that, they are the ones who are the enemies of the country, who are destabilizing the nation, and are inciting civil unrest by treating citizens like rubbish.
Let us never forget that, peace is not a one-way street – as it takes two to tango.
One can never expect citizens to always remain peaceful and timid, when the government does not play its part, by treating its citizens with respect, honour, and dignity.
We, as the people of Zimbabwe, are sick and tired of this continued ill-treatment, abuse, and cruelty by those in power.
We can not take it any more, and turning the other cheek has its limits – since they are now bruised and bleeding from the relentless attacks by those mandated with protecting and caring for us.
The Zimbabwe government should stop placing the blame for their own failures on others, but instead, face up to their responsibilities.
Even a dog, when kicked, beaten up, and bullied often enough, will eventually bite back – and, the abuser can not turn around and accuse the dog of “causing unrest”.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and political commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: [email protected]Post published in: Featured