By Leopold Munhende
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration is hoping the recently legislated Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) will hold traction among social partners in a bid to avoid crippling protests.
The opposition MDC and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) have been threatening protests action against biting economic hardships, corruption and other issues related to civil service salaries.
Public Service Minister Sekai Nzenza told journalists at a post-Cabinet media briefing Wednesday that government is hoping the platform will pacify citizens.
““Through the TNF, this social platform we are able to discuss the socio-economic situation without having to go out into the streets,” said Nzenza.
She acknowledged that the recent spate of fuel and basic commodities price hikes have hit citizens hard.
“Quite seriously the price hikes are hurting especially the most vulnerable in our society. However, I am very pleased to say that the legislation of the TNF has enabled us to create a social platform whereby the voices from the workers, employers and government are able to be heard.
“We shall be meeting fairly soon in order to come up with a clear position on how we can reach a resolution that will enable better situations for those most affected by the current situation,” she said.
The ZCTU at the first meeting of the TNF last month, indicated it had demanded that government reverses its latest policy banning the use of multi-currencies and the designation of the local dollar as sole legal tender in domestic transactions arguing this had been done without consultation.
The labour federation had provisionally said the protests would be held this week but seemed to have recoiled after its president Peter Mutasa and secretary general Japhet Moyo had received death threats.
Mnangagwa after promising to reinvigorate the economy when he took over on the back of a military coup in November 2017 and subsequently winning elections last year has watched presided over an even deeper economic mess that his predecessor Robert Mugabe.
Former Finance Minister and MDC vice president Tendai Biti recently declared Zimbabwe is ripe for another coup.
The rise in the price of fuel has had a negative domino effect on basic commodities while salaries have remained stagnant pushing ordinary workers to the brink.