…we were betrayed, teachers say
…no jobs, no functional healthcare system
IN the run up to the 2018 general election, Zanu PF promised more than two million jobs, free primary and secondary education, a working health delivery system, but four years down the line the ruling party has not only failed to deliver but is also shouting new promises for the 2023 polls.
Observers said judging by the glaring poverty, massive unemployment, collapsed healthcare system, poor public transport system and the anger among underpaid civil servants, it was clear the Zanu PF government has failed to live up to its promises.
Zanu PF launched its 2018 election campaign manifesto under the theme “Unite, Fight Corruption, Develop, Re-Engage, Create Jobs”.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition director Blessing Vava said the period between 2018 and now has exposed the Zanu PF regime which is desperate to portray itself as a new dispensation.
An objective comparison of the party’s promises with its achievements only points to failure.
“Zanu PF is a party of promises that they will never fulfill. If anything, if they were to deliver on their manifestos since 1980 Zimbabwe could have been one of the most developed countries in the world,” Vava told The NewsHawks this week.
“They promised two million jobs, free education, an improved and efficient health delivery system and many other promises they made which have somehow remained empty,” he added.
In November 2017, upon his return from temporary exile in South Africa and immediately following the removal of the late former president Robert Mugabe via a military coup, Mnangagwa declared job creation as his main focus while addressing party supporters at Zanu PF headquarters.
But the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary-general Japhet Moyo told The NewsHawks this week that there was nothing to show the number of jobs that have been created and accused the government of hiding information.
“Our labour information services are a bit poor, actually very poor. It has been very difficult for a number of practitioners. You go to economists, they tell you that this is one of the difficult periods and it’s difficult for planning if that information is not made available,” Moyo said.
“We have people who are supposed to be doing this for us as a country so that even if you are an investor, you can plan properly after accessing that information. Over the years, the debate is: Is it deliberate that in Zimbabwe we are in the dark?”
“The information is just not there and, as a result, you find politicians going out to say we have created so many jobs but don’t seem to provide evidence. People then wonder if the jobs they claim to have created are actually real jobs,” he said.
“We can lie to each other and say they have created jobs when they have not because that information is not there.”
Over 95% of Zimbabweans are operating in the informal market as the job market has since dwindled.
Mnangagwa’s administration promised to pamper teachers and doctors together with the rest of civil servants but, since then, the state has been fighting the restive workers, even using violence and threats.
Teachers said they were promised a lot soon after the November 2017 military coup but, instead of the government addressing their plight, they have been subjected to more misery and attack.
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou said: “The promises stretch from the November 2017 coup when we reached another level with the targeting of the so-called criminals around the then president, RG Mugabe. We were promised better salaries and conditions of service. After the coup, we were assured of a better honeymoon after the elections in terms of salaries and conditions of service.”
“The array of promises included better salaries and conditions of service, robust collective bargaining under section 65 of the constitution. They also included improved budgetary allocation to education against Mugabe’s neo-liberal policy of reducing costs, building of more than 3 000 schools and recruitment of more teachers to ease the issue of bloated classes.”
Zhou said the government’s promises also included provision of resources, improved medical care, improved training in colleges and in service training, among other things, and all that has not been done.
“The educational paradise we were promised had turned out to be a diet of starvation and bullets to the head. There has been no prioritisation of investment in public education but retention of political power. Against the Dakar framework where African countries agreed on budgetary allocation for the ministry of Primary and Secondary Education above 22% of the total budget, we are still allocating as little as 12.7%,” Zhou added.
“Teachers’ salaries were unilaterally reduced after
the 2018 elections in October from US$540 to the current ZW$19 000 (US$80). The promised robust collective bargaining chamber never materialised and we are still engaging in collective begging under Statutory Instrument 141 of 1997. Rather than promoting social dialogue that enhances industrial harmony and productivity, the new dispensation has specialised in command-and-control antics.”
“No schools have been built and there is no free education. School fees has continued to escalate to levels beyond that have made education unaffordable and inaccessible to the majority of parents and particularly teachers.
There has been no meaningful recruitment of teachers, with the current deficit of teachers as high as more than 55 000.”
“Under the new dispensation there has been a deliberate attempt to discriminate against teachers in comparison with other government workers who received better perks from the government in June 2020 under what they called the Presidential prerogative. Teachers have therefore been treated in a discriminatory and servitude manner,” he said.
“The only panacea to the current challenges facing teachers include restoration of US$540 salary, government engagement with all teacher unions, intrinsic motivation of teachers and prioritisation of health and safety of teachers, pupils and ancillary staff. As long as the government does not listen to professional advice proffered by teacher unions, there will be no respite in the education system. The time to capacitate teachers is now.”
The government on Wednesday gave notice through the Public Service Commission (PSC) that all teachers who have declared incapacitation should consider themselves fired.
But while it has become glaring that the Zanu PF regime has failed to deliver, Mnangagwa and his allies insist he has achieved 80% of his promises, arguing their manifesto for 2023 elections will speak to the needs of the country’s citizens.
The government has claimed it has addressed the public transport crisis but urbanites continue to struggle daily.
Mnangagwa has handed over hundreds of Zupco buses which urbanites say are not being seen plying any routes.
The government has also rolled a massive road rehabilitation programme that has seen attention being given to roads across the country that are currently in bad shape.