President Morgan Tsvangirai’s Workers’ Day message to the people of Zimbabwe
Today, I join the world and the nation in commemorating this great day dedicated to celebrating the working community even though in our country, sadly, formal work has become a rarity.
On this special day, I salute the few Zimbabweans that still remain in formal work in whatever little is still left of our once-thriving industry. I also want to make special mention of our hard working civil servants who continue to slug it out without recognition and due payment from this uncaring government. The nation knows that had it not been for the election next year, even the staggered bonuses that are due to be paid out to civil servants starting this month would not have seen the light of day.
I spent many years of my adult life representing the country’s formal workers at national level and I know the huge sacrifices that those working formally and informally make every day to look after their families and keep what is left of our economy ticking.
However, the nature and the definition of the worker in our beloved country has drastically changed, thanks to our government!
It is in that new but sad context that today, I extend a special salute to the new workers; the country’s teeming informal traders who continue to make our economy tick under very hostile conditions.
To the millions of vendors now eking out an honest living on the pavements of our streets, I salute you; to the men and women in the villages working hard to feed your families, you are my heroes; to the artisanal miners slugging it out beneath our soils and the farmers those tilling the land, we revere you; to all those of my countrymen and women in the Diaspora working hard to send a dime to the families back home; this is your day!
Yes, all of you are workers who deserve your due recognition on this your special day. However, as we commemorate this year’s May Day, we must also use the day for sober reflection.
We must reflect on all these skilled people in our country and in our communities who cannot find work because of our government’s misguided policies.
We must reflect and spare a thought for the sons and daughters loafing around our own homes; the unemployed university graduates who cannot find a job in the country of their birth and are looking at the slightest opportunity to leave the country. This is the sad national predicament we must think about this May Day, the educated youth who are idle mainly because in 2013, President Mugabe and Zanu PF lied that they would create two million jobs to ameliorate their plight but have dismally failed to come good on that promise.
As we face a watershed election in 2018, we must budget that these hypocrites will bring to us a fresh bouquet of high-sounding promises they will forget about soon after polling day! The only difference is that we are now wiser.
Fellow Zimbabweans, this being Workers Day, we must remember that as a nation we have our work cut out for us as we brace for next year’s watershed polls. Yes, we have serious work to do next year and that great work starts by registering to vote as soon as the voter registration exercise is rolled out in the coming days.
My fellow countrymen and women, given our circumstance and all these visible signs of collapse around us, the real Workers Day is the day of the next election; when we must all turn out in our huge numbers to vote and make a huge statement about the Zimbabwe we want.
We have real work to do at the next election and I urge all parents to encourage their children to participate in the politics of their country. I urge all the youth to come out in their numbers and determine, defend and secure the future that they want by participating in the next election. They certainly cannot outsource or contract out the determination of their own future to anyone.
There must be no doubt in the mind of every Zimbabwean that next year’s election provides us with a rare opportunity---a chance that comes once in every five years--- to correct things in our country by voting in a new government that will bring back the dignity of the ordinary Zimbabwean.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) is commemorating this year’s May Day under the theme Fighting Unemployment, Poverty and Inequalities.
Fellow Zimbabweans, we can only be able to fight unemployment, poverty and inequalities if we use the perfect opportunity next year to vote for visionary men and women who will be able to extricate our country from its parlous predicament.
It behoves upon us as Zimbabweans to put our country first and make a wise electoral choice next year.
I wish I could say Happy Workers Day, but I am alive to the daily grind that each one of us goes through to put food on the table.
Nevertheless, have a good day, under the circumstances.