Govt should sort out this mess now

HARARE - Making the Zimbabwean economy work again requires a cocktail of initiatives and discussions which may involve the adoption of certain options and dropping of others. 

However, this may only be possible when government is receptive and abandons all combative tactics in pursuit of long-lasting solutions. 

The country’s healthcare delivery system has been thrown into disarray following the ongoing doctors’ strike for which no end seems in sight yet. 

Teachers, on the other hand, have also downed tools in protest over deteriorating conditions of service and payment of salaries in US dollars, a demand that is common among all government workers. 

Schools are due to open this week while the grumbling teachers have been knocking on government’s door for the past couple of months but there has not been any positive response from their employer.

Several schools, especially those that fall under the Association of Trust Schools, had wanted government to allow them to charge fees in foreign currency, in line with what is obtaining elsewhere in the economy, for instance, the medical and pharmaceutical sector where drugs and some services are now pegged in US dollars.

The major task ahead for President Emmerson Mnangagwa is calming the restive civil service, which is no longer sure of its employer’s intentions. Government workers have mulled strike action for a long time and getting them hooked to their jobs without addressing their grievances is expecting too much.

Posturing on the part of government will not help the situation. We have written before on how sincerity and trust will remain central in any dialogue, be it political or otherwise. Negotiations between government and striking doctors must have the same attributes punctuated by mutual trust. 

This will ensure a win-win outcome, which does not exacerbate the suffering of the ordinary people.

At the end of the day what is needed are solutions because at the moment people’s lives are at stake. Any visit to a public health institution will show how dire the situation is. The nurses cannot do anything in the absence of doctors.

Zimbabweans have suffered enough  — the cash and fuel shortages, rising prices of basic commodities and the disappearance of some from shop shelves, ever-rising school uniform prices and standards of living which have fallen dramatically in the last decade.

Government must respect the people’s resilience in the face of challenges. 

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