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Some school children and their parents looking for school uniforms in Bulawayo streets.

Zimbabwean teachers have vowed to stay home tomorrow as schools open for the first quarter of the 2020 calendar year, saying they are too incapacitated to return to work due to lack of money.

Some teachers’ unions say their members, who are demanding salaries pegged at prevailing interbank rates, have no money for bus fares, food and other basic needs.

Three major teachers’ unions, the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) and Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (ZIMTA), have informed the government about the pending industrial action, which is expected to cripple the education sector.

ZIMTA chief executive officer, Sifiso Ndlovu, says thousands of teachers won’t return to work.

“All our members have indicated that they are not returning to work on Tuesday as they don’t have money for bus fares, buying food and other basic needs. It’s impossible for those working in rural areas to return to work without food. Their December salaries have been exhausted due to hyperinflation.
“To make matters worse, they are unable to pay fees for their children who will drop out of school due to lack of money for fees and other school necessities. They are too incapacitated to return to work.”

Civil servants on Friday rejected a 100 percent salary increase, which would have resulted in the lowest paid worker getting 2,033 Zimbabwe dollars a month. They are demanding that salaries should be pegged at prevailing interbank rates.

The government also promised to pay the civil servants a cushioning allowance of up to 750 Zimbabwe dollars. They also rejected the offer.

Junior Zimbabwean doctors have been on strike demanding payment of salaries at current interbank rates. The government dismissed at least 450 of the striking doctors after the Labour Court declared that their industrial action was illegal.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi is in Zimbabwe on a three-day business visit in a nation where Chinese companies and government have invested huge sums of money in various sectors.

Wang Yi, who arrived in the country Saturday, is expected to hold bilateral talks with top Zimbabwean government officials and directors of quasi-government firms in which the Chinese have business interests.

According to the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper, Wang Yi was dispatched on a business mission by Chinese President Xi Jingping to strengthen relations between China, Zimbabwe and other African countries.

The Chinese government has invested billions of dollars in Africa in various sectors, including agriculture, mining and manufacturing. Wang Yi recently visited Egpyt, Djibouti, Eritrea and Rwanda, where the Chinese government has facilitated the opening of several projects.

Critics in Zimbabwe say the so-called mega deals signed by China and Zimbabwe’s late former president Robert Mugabe and President Emmerson Mnangagwa, are not benefiting local people.

Independent economic commentator Rejoice Ngwenya said, “China is using its strong financial muscle to buy friendship in Africa. China does this by pouring a lot of money in African countries on infrastructural projects. For example in Zimbabwe China has done this by pouring millions of dollars in building a new parliament. What’s problematic is that most projects that are implemented by Chinese companies in Africa, including Zimbabwe, appear to be successful while those that are handled by governments are a complete disaster due to rampant corruption on the African continent especially among African leaders and their colleagues.”

He says most projects that are implemented by Chinese companies in Africa, including Zimbabwe, appear to be successful while those that are handled by governments “are a complete disaster due to rampant corruption on the African continent especially among African leaders and their colleagues.”

But Bulilima West Zanu PF Member of Parliament, Dingumuzi Phuthi, says the Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister’s visit to Zimbabwe is an indication that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government is trustworthy in terms of ease of doing business.

It is a very commendable gesture that has been done by China that the president Xi Jingping has decided to send such a high profile to come (to Zimbabwe) and one, to follow up on the mega deals that Zimbabwe and China embarked on, secondly, to strengthen diplomatic relations between these countries, number three, strengthen the trade between and related issues between Zimbabwe and China and number four, we know very well that it is important that any country that has embarked on a robust engagement thrust as ourselves, to see that engagement being reciprocal, it is a very good sign that this reciprocity is bearing a testimonial that indeed Zimbabwe and China have been together and are still together.”

The Chinese have invested US$1,1 billion in the Hwange power expansion project, US$100 million in building a new parliament in Harare and an estimated US$153 million in refurbishing the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport and poured in millions of dollars in the diamond mining industry in Zimbabwe.

Top Chinese Diplomat Visiting Zimbabwe
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