|Stop politicising the civil service strike|
|Sunday, 05 February 2012 09:49|
If anything, many people thought that the ability to handle issues of labour disputes by the MDC-T would be different from how Zanu-PF has been handling these in the past. It is very interesting that the MDC-T continues to push the blame away from them all the time.
Symptomatic of their refusal to apply their minds to issues, the MDC-T has once again come out with an accusation that it is Zanu-PF, which is fuelling the civil servants strike. This line which has become the only line of defence especially by the MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora who has become delusionary in his paranoia and fear of Zanu-PF to an extent that anyone who criticises his failures and that of his leadership is said to be fronting Zanu-PF.
The failure and inability to engage in constructive public debate on national issues by Douglas Mwonzora and many of his MDC-T colleagues is symptomatic of the low levels of depths in him and that of his party that sees a Zanu-PF conspiracy in all their failure to handle issues. So delusionary is their thinking that even when other parties are at variance with them on policy issues they rush to the tired cliché that they are fronting Zanu-PF. But when will they grow up to have a formula of accepting responsibility for their failures or ability to debate issues on merit without hiding on the delusion that there is a Zanu-PF hand somewhere. Why does it look like MDC-T people see the Zanu-PF hand in everything and everywhere even where there are just shadows?
The rights of civil service to strike is the same as the right of all workers to strike and the current strike is justified as the conditions of service and salary levels of the civil service are unjustifiably too low. Strikes by workers are not a new phenomenon and they are not peculiar to Zimbabwe, they happen everywhere in the world.
Equally surprising is the way the Minister of Public Service Lucia Matibenga has handled the whole issue of the strike. A lot was expected from her as a seasoned trade unionist who continues to serve as the third vice president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) but alas the minister handled the whole issue with gross unprofessionalism. Instead of addressing the fundamental demands of the civil service she retreated from giving the required strategic direction, refusing even to engage the press and at one stage even failing to attend the meeting of the National Joint Negotiating Council. These kinds of antics and political theatrics only help fuel tension and Minister Matibenga knows that clearly. Her situation was made worse by the declaration by her party that the strike was fuelled by Zanu-PF literally undermining the genuine grievances of workers.
What I find interesting about the MDC-T allegations is that in recent years Zanu-PF used to accuse workers of being influenced by the MDC-T by now the accusation has shifted, it’s now MDC-T accusing Zanu-PF of influencing workers. Is this an admission by the MDC-T that they have lost the workers to Zanu-PF? This will not be surprising especially given the expose' of MDC-T’s lack of genuineness on the workers plight. If anyone had any doubts about this then the recent firing of members of the workers committee by the MDC-T led council in Gweru is a telling tale of how they lack interest in the plight of workers. The act of firing of workers demonstrating for better working conditions like what was done by the MDC-T led Gweru City Council seriously shows that that party is far from being committed the cause of workers.
It does not help to shy away from important national issues and stigmatise all actions as Zanu-PF orchestration. While it is true that politics presided over the collapse of the economy of the country and that the little salaries that the civil service is getting are a reflection of the damage that politics did to the country, it is unjust to want to rubbish and stigmatise the civil servants strike as a Zanu-PF machination. What is needed is to be genuine in the negotiations so that the outcomes are satisfactory to all the parties. The civil servants are aware that the government is not collecting a lot in terms of revenue hence their moderate demand but at the same time the government should not exhibit arrogance as this infuriates the other party and the effects may be explosive with the debris hitting innocent targets. There is a need to take the grievances of the civil service seriously and address them expeditiously because a dysfunctional civil service will have far reaching consequences on the economic recovery efforts of the country.