ZCTU: Zim workers’ living standards were better under Smith than ED

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By Alois Vinga

THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) says Zimbabwean workers led better lives during the colonial white rule than under black leaders.

The labour group said this in a statement to mark the country’s 40 years of independence.

ZCTU secretary general, Japhet Moyo said while Independence Day signified freedom for some, the day only came as a painful reminder of the hardship Zimbabwean workers were going through.

“It is a shame and indeed serious indictment for our leadership that people are looking back with nostalgia and fondness to the yesteryears of Ian Smith’s better economic conditions despite Smith’s oppressive and racist rule,” Moyo said of the last in the line of successive Rhodesian leaders.

Added the ZCTU chief, “An ordinary worker during the colonial era had a better economic lifestyle compared to today’s worker.

“Independence, which was supposed to be a full package turned out piecemeal.”

Moyo said Zimbabweans’ freedom was just limited to political independence with the rest of their constitutional freedoms non-existent.

He blamed the Zanu PF led government for failing to manage and provide basic utilities such as water and electricity with urban households enjoying running water for less than three days a week.

The ZCTU top official bemoaned the massive dilapidation of the country’s infrastructure saying roads were now full of potholes and no longer navigable while hospitals were in a poor state with schools too under-equipped for learners to receive quality education.

The workers group said the country’s political elite inherited colonial Rhodesia’s oppressive infrastructure which they now use to oppress their own people.

“Corruption, violence, fear, thuggery, deprivation, segregation, inequalities and repression are the order of the day,” Moyo said.

“The laws of the land are not being fully upheld to protect workers and citizens. Our working environment has gradually deteriorated from independence.”

He condemned the Emmerson Mnangagwa led administration for using brute force against dissenting voices in the country as did happen with two episodes of army killings on civilians August 2018 and January last year.