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The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has become the latest influential organisation to call for a comprehensive all-stakeholder dialogue to solve the country’s multi-faceted crisis.
ZCTU president Peter Mutasa said the only way to find common ground and to pull the country lost in political and economic quagmire out of the woods, is through constant engagements, which entail trial and errors until the elusive magic wand to bring the country back on its rails is found.
He made the call during his contribution to Public Policy Research Institute of Zimbabwe held under the theme; “Elusive Political, Electoral and Economic Reforms in Zimbabwe”.
Mutasa said Zimbabwe was now a failed state and the government had lost its legitimacy in the “eyes and hearts” of the majority of the citizens and the national dialogue was one of the solutions but not an exclusive solution to the complex crisis bedevilling the country at the moment.
“The basis of my submissions is that there is bound to be a lot of debate and disagreements, much of it will be driven by ideological, philosophical and academic definitional arguments.
“I am from a specific class that has peculiar needs and expectations from the state. The working class in its broadest sense forms the biggest social class and faces particular problems and unmet needs. The legitimacy of the state is based on what the citizens see and experience daily.
“This is never neutral especially in a kleptocratic oligarchic state where some benefit at the expense of the suffering majority. The daily struggles, therefore, determine the legitimacy of the government and status of the state,” said Mutasa.
The worker’s union leader further said the current government’s illegitimacy is derived from operating outside the parameters permissible by law. He pointed out that abductions, torture, unlawful arrests and pre-trial detentions, police and military brutalities and many other forms of abuses point to a state that has become a danger to its citizens.
He went on to accuse the President Emmerson Mnangagwa-led administration of dictatorship, kleptocracy and of having anti-people and anti-workers’ policies, militarisation of the state, corruption, cartels and state capture, lack of constitutionalism and the rule of law.
“Working class is failing to access medical care, education, adequate housing, proper transport etc. Public hospitals are in a sorry state lacking basic drugs and equipment. Some schools resemble pigsties and many kids are failing to access quality education as teachers are always incapacitated and schools have no books.
“Workers are facing problems going to and from work. There is no suitable and adequate public transport. Many are now using open trucks in the rains and cold.
“High inflation and currency debauchery has led to serious erosion of wages and pensions. The majority of the workers are earning far below the PDL (poverty datum line). Many are food insecure and facing starvation. Endemic poverty affecting 70% of the population with 34% in extreme poverty.
“We are in a vicious cycle, with low incomes, low demand, low savings, and low productivity. Many kids will drop out of schools as working parents fail to pay fees. Many families can barely afford a single meal a day,” he said.