Thursday, 30 April 2015
Issue Date: 30 April 2015
The Committee of the Peoples Charter (CPC) joins the rest of the world in commemorating the May Day. This year’s Workers Day commemorations come at a time when workers, both formal and informal are grappling with immeasurable challenges, notably receding employment opportunities, slave wages below the poverty line, all a result of a declining economy.
The CPC notes the current economic reality of Zimbabwe suggests a scenario where formal employment numbers are drastically dropping each month and currently only an estimated 15% of Zimbabweans are formally employed.
This reality has mutilated the economy to an extent where the majority of those pushed out of formal employment and the unemployed have resorted to vending.
This development is against the backdrop of the government failing to fulfill its electoral promise to create 2, 2 million jobs by 2018 under its much vaunted economic blueprint Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset).
With an average 250 000 scholars leaving our high schools and tertiary institutions each year, the unemployment situation is very dire for young people.
The CPC also notes with the concern the government's intention to legislate Labour Flexibility which will among other things link remuneration to productivity, making it easier for employers to hire and fire employees and fundamentally reduce all employment to casual labour.
This is against the aspirations of the majority of Zimbabwean workers and a clear sign that the government has completely departed from the social democratic norms to protecting capital and employers at the detriment of the poor and workers.
If implemented, this will erode employee rights as new capital and foreign investors especially Chinese would literally reduce local labour into slaves as workers will simply be fired or only hired on short term contracts, thus denying them social protection in their old age.
It is important to note on this day that the responsibility to provide jobs and a meaningful livelihood option for citizens lies primarily with the state.
As the custodian of all national resources, both natural and man-made, the government ought to be the chief propagator of access to opportunities for its citizens, key of which is a sustainable livelihood.
Fair labour standards must be applied and this should include a living minimum wage linked to inflation and poverty datum line, living pension and security allowances for all retirees and the elderly. This should suffice for both public and private sector workers. If our workers get a living wage, then other attendant issues such as health care, education, housing, access to water and sanitation can become a reality.
The CPC urges the present government to take the plight of workers and the general citizenry seriously, and to show greater commitment to creating an economy and attendant conditions that are favourable to the workers and the general citizenry.
Policy inconsistency remains a major challenge with our government, a factor that continues to hamper meaningful foreign direct investment that can resuscitate our comatose economy. This is exacerbated by rampant corruption in the public and private sectors which again continues to hamper development.
The government should seriously consider the full functionality of the tripartite negotiating forum, in pursuit of a binding social contract to take the economy and country forward. The onus is also upon the workers, including those in the largely dominant informal sector to organize themselves and to demand amenable working conditions and policies that can drive our country forward, in pursuit of a socially just and prosperous Zimbabwe.
Issued by the CPC Information Department
Friday, 17 April 2015
Issue Date: 17 April 2015
The Committee of the Peoples Charter (CPC) joins all Zimbabweans in commemorating the 35th anniversary of our national independence. In our commemorations, we not only remember the tremendous sacrifices of all the people of Zimbabwe including our war veterans, war collaborators, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters. We also remember the selflessness shown by our African brothers and sisters in directly assisting us to not only conduct our struggle for independence but for not wavering in their solidarity in the most trying of circumstances.
In the 35 years that Zimbabwe has been independent, the ideals of liberation struggle, inclusive of a better life for all, land redistribution, human rights and universal suffrage have been eroded by corruption, political repression, elitist capitalism and a political leadership with an undemocratic sense of entitlement to the state.
This entitlement by the ruling party has given the false impression that it is only by association with it that one can attain a fulfilling existence as a citizen of Zimbabwe.
Those that have opposed the ruling party have unfortunately also taken up the same characteristics even if they do not yield state power. Contrary to the ideals of the liberation struggle, they have sought to continuously pursue personal wealth at the expense of people centred and organic democratic leadership. To this extent they too have compromised the ideals and values of the liberation struggle while hypocritically accusing their rivals of doing the same.
This year’s independence anniversary occurs within the context of an economy that is insensitive to the needs of the majority poor, does not support innovation and stymies the ambitions of the working people of Zimbabwe. Social services such as decent public health, public education, public transport, access to telecommunications technology remain beyond the reach of many. The albatross of unemployment haunts the young people of Zimbabwe to the extent that most of them seek first to leave the country than to find a bright future in it.
Zimbabwe’s Diaspora continues to be left out in the cold without any structured overtures to invest revenue generated from its remittances in the development of the country. Furthermore, the lack of a direct interaction between the Diaspora and government has led to other countries treating people of Zimbabwean origin with not only disdain but tragic violence motivated by xenophobia.
The new constitution that is now two years old has again become the subject of direct abuse by political parties as and when they deem fit. From proposals to amend it that have been reported in the mainstream media, through to abuses of clauses on the recall of Members of Parliament to settle politician scores, the constitution has proven to be more a power sharing document between political parties than it is embedded in a people driven democratic culture.
The CPC however notes that the flame of independence is however not doused. Where there is adherence to social democratic values, principles and leadership that is guided more by posterity than self aggrandizement, the ideals of our national independence can be transformed into reality. In this vein, the CPC urges all Zimbabweans, of all races, ages and religions, to continue to believe in the attainability of the values of our national independence. But only if all us, together, think, act and lead.
Issued by the CPC Information Department.