The Sunday Mail
Weekly and in some instances daily threats of strike action by some teachers and other sections of Zimbabwe’s populace are not helping matters at a time the country needs all hands on deck to deal with challenges confronting the economy.
Granted, some of those threatening industrial action have genuine grievances that need attention. But there are always better and more constructive engagement strategies that can be applied to redress the situation.
But some misguided elements believe going on strike sends the message home more effectively and ensures swift response. This is a myopic view that fails to recognise that the repercussions of such actions far outweigh the benefits.
Taking to the streets has never been the best way to end any labour crisis. It creates more problems and compromises the authorities’ ability and latitude to resolve problems.
It is most unfortunate that the social media has exaggerated situations and has even encouraged people to go on strike. Those that take heed to the destructive calls are regarded as heroes and yet the opposite is actually true. There is no heroism in destroying efforts to rebuild this country.
It is destructive to engage in an industrial action, particularly against a Government that is encouraging dialogue and has, in most instances, bent over backwards to accommodate concerns by doctors, teachers and other constituencies.
Only last week teachers had largely agreed to dialogue to resolve their issues but we are surprised that at the weekend a certain radical section of the teaching profession has threatened to go on strike on Tuesday because they insist on being paid in United States Dollars.
While it would be great for everyone to be paid in US dollars, simple logic should tell us that the country does not have the greenbacks. Receipts from exports and the diaspora are even failing to meet critical import requirements in most instances. Where then should the dollars to pay teachers and other civil servants come from at this juncture?
President Mnangagwa has repeatedly implored Zimbabweans to be patient and endure the short-term pain many are suffering because the biblical Canaan is not far.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Mthuli Ncube has said in 12-months’s time some challenges in the economy would have dissipated resulting from the austerity measures he has put in place. Zimbabweans have always been considered a resilient and patient lot no wonder we always find ways of getting out of seemingly impossible situations.
The onus is on everyone to give current efforts a chance. The gross impatience being exhibited in the economy is a foreign phenomenon that we had better shrug off sooner rather than later.
Government has made interventions such as introducing cheaper and more reliable forms of transport to reduce transport costs and facts are there for everyone to see that even kombis have reduced their fares to largely a dollar per trip from the previous levels of between $3 and $5 even for short distances of less than 10 kilometres.
Furthermore, Government warning shots have been fired against retailers and manufacturers who had made it a habit to increase prices without any fundamental justification.
On a grand scale, President Mnangagwa has led teams on a re-engagement exercise that has begun to bear fruit. A deal with Belarus will see 500 buses coming in while multi-billion projects such as the Great Dyke platinum project and refurbishment of Hwange 7 and 8 have started. More investments are expected while the country is also in discussion with South Africa to find solutions for the economy.
These are certainly not hollow efforts but will bring results in the short to medium term.
But engaging in destructive strikes and violence as was the case mid last month will not be helpful, it will only compromise all these efforts.
Our focus as Zimbabweans should remain on the goals of delivering a better Zimbabwe and we should collectively reject calls by some misguided elements to cause mayhem as this diverts efforts and attention on that which builds this nation.
The Tripartite Negotiation Forum should be a platform that can bring all parties together for amicable solutions to challenges. Giving talks a chance is not an act of cowardice but demonstrates the maturity and commitment that is expected of every Zimbabwean so we can turn the tide.
Vision 2030 is real and quite achievable. We should not be intimidated by a few meanders on the road to prosperity but we should remain resolute to see a better Zimbabwe for ourselves and for posterity.