THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index

Mugabe faces mass protests
Dumisani Muleya, Business Day (SA)
February 06, 2007

ZIMBABWE is facing the most widespread strikes and protests by discontented soldiers, public servants and impoverished workers since independence in 1980.

The ground swell of discontent poses a serious threat to President Robert Mugabe’s regime if the reported disturbances within the army, a strike by doctors and nurses, a go-slow by teachers, and threats of protests by public servants and students erupt into a nationwide antigovernment campaign.

Last week opposition groups in the country’s second major city, Bulawayo, staged unannounced marches against Mugabe’s attempt to extend his term of office to 2010.

Zimbabwe, gripped by political and economic instability for seven years now, began the year with strikes by doctors and nurses protesting against low salaries and poor working conditions.

A junior doctor earns Z$56000 (about R100) and a nurse Z$35000 (about R60) a month.

An average worker earns about Z$20000 (R33) a month.

Junior doctors are seeking Z$5m (R8000) a month, with benefits such as accommodation and car loans.

Negotiations between medical staff and the government have collapsed, leaving thousands barely treated in hospitals and clinics.

Three male nurses at Harare Central Hospital were last week arrested on allegations of inciting their colleagues at Parirenyatwa Hospital to go on strike.

Police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka said the three had incited their colleagues to embark on an "illegal industrial action" and warned that police would crush any protests against the government. Many police officers earn as little as R33 a month.

The army has also been hit by a spate of desertions and resignations, and corruption is rife. It has reportedly ordered an investigation into the unrest by trainee soldiers. It is understood the army is treating this as a near mutiny.

Low-ranking soldiers earn Z$21000, a mere R35 a month.

Thousands of teachers across the country have joined a go-slow strike campaign against the low salaries they earn.

The Zimbabwe National Students’ Union has threatened a class boycott if the government fails to withdraw controversial increases of 300%-2000% in tuition fees.

Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.