10 July 2014

Zimbabwe: Mugabe Faces Massive Job Riots, Tsvangirai

Photo: Sokwanele
A protest in Harare (file photo).

ZIMBABWE risks massive protest by restive youths if the Zanu PF government fails to create the two million jobs it promised before the end of the year, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has warned.

Speaking during the launch of the MDC-T youth assembly website and jobs campaign in Harare Wednesday, the former trade unionist said Zimbabwe's unemployment crisis was now a security threat.

"The unemployment situation in this country has put the country in a very serious security situation," he said.

"If there is no new direction and change of policy, this country is doomed. Mugabe will not be able to create a single job."

While campaigning for last year's elections which he won by a stretch, President Robert Mugabe promised to create more than two million jobs if voted into office.

Tsvangirai said Zanu PF should not take people for granted and must honour its election campaign promises or face massive revolts.

"Zanu PF must always understand, and let them understand, that unless there is a new direction and a new policy thrust, this country is doomed; it cannot create any new jobs," said Tsvangirai.

"Vamwe tava vadhara kudai tinongatichida kuonawo vana vawakazvara vachimira mirawoka - muchimira mirawoka sevana vadiki, kwete kuregera vadhara vachibata gejo imi muri mubvute. You do not do that, it's a reversal of roles.

"I remember during the final push we made a mistake; some thought that we wanted to topple Mugabe from power. And I like the agenda that you have identified, because it is a constitutional right and it is there in the constitution."

He blamed the country's economic decline on Zanu PF's 'illegitimate' government.

"Zimbabwe is not facing an economic problem; it is facing a political crisis that is manifesting itself into economic symptoms that we face and those symptoms are poverty, unemployment and all that.

"So unless that political paralysis is resolved, there is nowhere you can solve the economic problem."

Clifford Hlatswayo, the MDC-T youth assembly spokesperson said they were now ready to take action to end poverty in the country.

"Never, never again in our lifetime shall we allow to live in poverty. We cannot afford to be sacrificed by politicians. This is the beginning of the struggle."

Jokonia Mawopa, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) chairperson for Harare, revealed that over 290,000 jobs were lost in the past 10 months.

"Zimbabwe is in a crisis. Every Thursdays, the national retrenchment board fires over 450 workers. 290,000 jobs were lost in the past 10 months," said Mawopa.

According to the ZCTU, the country's unemployment rate stands at 84% with the jobless now resorting to vending on airtime recharge cards for a living.

The government-backed national statistics report (2013) has however put the jobless rate at around 11% with Zanu PF insisting most people were now self-employed in the informal sector.

To reflect Zanu PF's blasé attitude towards the problem, the party's youthful legislator Melody Dziva, a women's quota beneficiary representing the Midlands province, recently said she would not be convinced there was a problem until she saw dead bodies on the streets.

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