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Zimbabwe Economic Decline Worries Tsvangirai MDC

Former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.- VOA
The shadow cabinet of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai held its first meeting Thursday this year and expressed concern at the country’s deteriorating economic situation and failure by the Zanu PF government to pay living wages to civil servants, among other issues afflicting the nation.

Information shadow minister Nelson Chamisa told Studio 7 after the five-hour meeting chaired by party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, that the problems affecting the country such as the liquidity crunch, company closures and retrenchments were a result of what the party says was a stolen election which can only be resolved through fresh elections.

He also said by failing to pay civil servants salaries above the poverty datum line estimated at between $540 and $560 for an urban family of six, the government does not care about its workers’ welfare.

Government and its workers are locked in salary negotiations with unions on Wednesday rejecting an offer of a minimum monthly payment of $500 for the lowest paid civil servant. The two sides meet again Friday as negotiations continue.

The meeting, Chamisa said, noted that it was unacceptable for government to fail to pay fees for more than one million children as well as its failure to provide safety nets for struggling war veterans, the elderly, those living with disabilities and the poor.

Chamisa said the meeting urged government to provide social safety nets to cushion the needy and the poor.

He said the MDC-T shadow cabinet meeting also urged the government to decisively deal with corruption, saying the rot in state companies and quasi government departments is unacceptable.

The MDC-T spokesman said President Robert Mugabe, who has come out in the open and attacked some of his officials for being corrupt, must walk the talk and prosecute those perpetuating graft.

Studio 7 was unable to get comment from Media, Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Jonathan Moyo.

Cabinet has not yet met this year as President Mugabe, who chairs the meetings, is still on his annual leave.

Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo could also not be reached for comment. The person who answered his mobile phone said he was in a meeting.