THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has said preparations were underway for a stayaway if President Emmerson Mnangagwa fails to urgently address challenges facing the economy. The labour body last week said it would be rolling out protests in two weeks.
ZCTU president Peter Mutasa told NewsDay yesterday that organising teams were on the ground, mobilising for the mass action.
“We have a general council resolution to call for a stayaway. However, the dates will be announced as soon as our organising teams have completed the mobilisation,” he said.
Mutasa said the country’s prevailing economic situation was pushing them to protest to register their displeasure in the way government was running the affairs of the State.
“The majority of Zimbabweans are suffering and wallowing in poverty. Workers and their families are starving. They are failing to pay rent, school fees and for other basic necessities,” he said.
“Workers and their families are dying in homes because many cannot access medical care or buy prescribed drugs. Transport to and from work is a nightmare, and we face huge energy costs as a result of load shedding as we have to use more expensive alternatives.”
Mutasa said workers’ salaries had been seriously eroded and on average, many earn less than US$30, down from US$300.
Some, such as domestic and agricultural workers, earn US$9 and US$12, respectively, not even enough to buy a weekly food basket.
For long, the ZCTU and the opposition MDC have been mulling a stayaway to protest against the deteriorating economy in the country.
MDC party spokesperson Daniel Molokele said his party has not issued any instruction yet to its members to participate in the stayaway, but said individuals who wish to do so would be free because it was their constitutional right.
Meanwhile, government has acquired new military vehicles which crossed the Forbes Border Post into the country last week on Wednesday afternoon, reportedly to deal with the protests.
Zanu PF political commissar and Defence deputy minister Victor Matemadanda, while addressing a rally in the Midlands at the weekend, vowed to rope in soldiers to thwart the mass protests.