DARE Workers Day Speech

My compatriots, as we celebrate International Workers Day aka May Day, we salute all the millions of Zimbabweans all over the world, who are working hard for themselves and their families. We want to pay tribute to the less than 10% of workers formally employed in Zimbabwe who work under very difficult and challenging conditions. We particularly and especially celebrate the entrepreneurship and ingenuity of the majority of workers who work in the informal sector.

All Zimbabwean workers at home and in the Diaspora make this Government and country work (pun intended). We salute you all children of the soil. Without your strong work ethic and resilience, manifested in various family survival strategies, this economy and country would have totally collapsed. Although we must celebrate, we should also be mindful of the real spectre of the poverty ‘Ghost of 2007/8′, which is stalking us and treating to haunt us even as we speak today.

We have to ask ‘What is the state of Labor and the Labor movement in Zimbabwe on this auspicious day?’

Unfortunately, the country is not working (pun intended). An overwhelming majority, up to 90 %, are unemployed. The remaining 10% are both overworked and underpaid for the jobs that they do.

Moreover, for those in work, the inequality gap between the lowest paid worker and management is staggering and unjustifiable on many levels. The Government protects partisan executives in the public sector and quasi-state institutions and has stopped caring for the plight of ordinary workers. Central Government and local councils have recently been caught up in an unprecedented fraudulent racket where income tax, pension and NASA deductions among other deductions have not been remitted to their final destinations. Looting and corruption in Government and quasi government bodies is endemic and has taken pandemic proportions to include the private and charitable sectors too.

Furthermore and more worrying is a culture that has taken root in the recent past , of non payment of workers for months and sometimes for years for a job done. This is a corrupt, illegal and immoral practice. It has to stop and the authorities in a DARE Government would have intervened by now.

Sadly, the leadership of the Labor Movement has abandoned the mandate that the workers gave them to represent their interests. Instead, the Labor Movement has been infiltrated and the leadership like sheep has allowed themselves to be manipulated by the erstwhile partners in the GNU for political and corrupt ends. It is time to go back to basics, to the mandate. We should reorganize and realign labor laws and practices to be in tandem with the new Constitution and best practices all over the world.

On the other hand, we call on business owners, entrepreneurs and public sector managers to adhere to the tenets of good corporate governance, shun corruption, pay workers in the lowest bracket a living wage, and further improve their conditions of service.

Across our borders, the xenophobic
attacks against our nationals in South Africa are a poignant manifestation of the economic decline and rot back home. There is serious under employment of talent in our economy, most graduates are have been reduced to vendors, shopkeepers and security guards.

Some have crossed our borders for better opportunities in neighboring countries and have been caught up in these recent xenophobic attacks. The general consensus among the leaders at the SADC meeting in Harare a few days ago seemed to be that Zimbabweans should be repatriated back to the country. A country that has nothing to offer, where Telecel is closing down sending hundreds onto the street. What does the future hold for these returnees?

The National leadership neither has solutions nor does it seem to care. This is a potential powder keg for social unrest. DARE like many other know that the solution lies in rescuscitating the economy. It is the economy, stupid!

A DARE Government will create an environment conducive to entrepreneurship and business. We will attract the much-needed Foreign Direct Investment through investor friendly policies. That is what the country needs to boost manufacturing industry and enable businesses to flourish and employment levels to fall and yes, eliminated altogether. Those who want to work should be able work.

Furthermore, there is a need for a paradigm shift to boost employment
through introduction of shift work in some sectors of the economy. This is true of the hospitality industry, can, and should be extended to the retail sector and other sectors. The time has come for businesses to start operating at hours convenient to the public and not just convenient to them. The era of a nine to five job (9am to 5pm) is long gone.

In that vein, we are painfully aware that every ordinary citizen of Zimbabwe deserves a good, long and healthy productive life. Our families deserve good, long and healthy productive lives.

Therefore, the Democratic Assembly for Restoration and Empowerment (DARE) political party came into being in March 2014 to restore the ideals of the liberation struggle and empower every Zimbabwe man, woman and child and not just a few elite families.

We dare you to Join DARE and vote for
our candidates in the June 10 Parliamentary by-elections and usher in an era of business development and growth, job creation and job opportunities.

Kind regards,

Benny Mukusha

DARE International Relations Officer

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