Zimbabweans commemorated International Workers’ Day on Sunday with some labor activists and opposition politicians calling for the dumping of the Zimbabwe currency and adoption of the United States dollar until the economic situation improves.
Addressing a Workers Day event in Harare’s Dzivarasekwa suburb, the leader of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Florence Taruvinga, said most workers are struggling to survive in the country amid an economic downturn due to the devaluation of the local currency.
“It’s surprising that the government wants workers to be paid in the local currency when people are being asked to pay for passports in United States dollars. This is wrong. Workers have to fight hard to correct this. They should be paid in U.S. dollars,” she said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, former ZCTU boss, Peter Mutasa, said workers have been reduced to beggars.
Mutasa said, “There is nothing good for workers anymore in Zimbabwe. Workers are now beggars and the situation is getting worse. We are working for nothing. It’s like what was happening during the Ian Smith regime. We have been oppressed by this government. We are going for elections and our goal is to remove the party in power.”
Labor and Social Welfare Minister, Paul Mavhima, said Zimbabwe can improve workers’ conditions if all local people work together.
Mavhima said, “It is only when we accept collective responsibility that we can move forward. We have spent a lot of time fighting over many issues than to resolve them amicably. No, no, to unnecessary divisions, we say no to intolerance. Let’s come together as Zimbabweans to build our country.”
Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change leader Nelson Chamisa attended the event in Dzivarasekwa where he became an instant hit when he walked into the venue accompanied by his vice, Tendai Biti, and several others.