Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
President Mnangagwa yesterday slammed the culture of violence and demonstrations by workers, saying that must never be used as a negotiating tool in the Second Republic as they worsen economic challenges facing the country and provide a fertile ground for conflict.
He said differing positions and perspectives were permissible, but a militant attitude was futile as it served to widen fissures, thereby delaying economic turnaround.
President Mnangagwa was addressing delegates at the launch of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF).
TNF is a platform that brings together Government, business and labour to discuss challenges affecting the country.
The launch coincided with the TNF Bill being signed into law early yesterday morning by President Mnangagwa.
“In the Second Republic, let us shun the culture of militancy, disharmony and demonstrations. We must develop greater understanding of each other’s perspectives. Like one writer says, ‘Most problems would disappear if people talk to each other more, instead of talking about each other’.
“Differing positions must be permissible within our country, however, these must never divide us or result in conflict. Violence must never be used as a tool to gain temporary advantage, at the expense of the people we must serve and protect. The old, retrogressive culture will only serve to widen our fissures and exacerbate our socio-economic challenges, and further delay the prosperity that our country so much needs and our people deserve.”
President Mnangagwa said there was need to desist from a confrontational attitude.
“In keeping with our new culture and the new normal, let us esteem collaboration instead of confrontation and build pragmatic, flexible and harmonious relationships for win-win outcomes. Let us all turn over a new leaf. We are kith and kin, one nation and one people,” he said.
President Mnangagwa’s remarks come at a time when some organisations purporting to be representing workers are calling for violent demonstrations to protest economic challenges which the country is going through.
In January this year, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), together with MDC-Alliance and other civil society organisations, called for violent demonstrations that resulted in private and public property being destroyed and looted.
Some wholesalers and retailers are struggling to get back to business, and Government has set aside a $30 million facility to bail them out.
President Mnangagwa said Government through the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, would be holding frequent meetings with social partners to discuss matters of mutual concern.
“As a listening Government, we will remain available to dialogue, prescriptions and recommendations to build trust and confidence among all partners,” he said.
President Mnangagwa added that Government remains unwavering in its commitment to enhance the welfare and interests of workers.
He said Government will remain the guarantor of constitutionally enshrined rights of workers as expressed in the Constitution and international labour standards.
“Therefore, we will continue to implement reforms and continuously revise and amend the country’s labour laws, taking into consideration the broad views of well-meaning partners from across all sectors,” he said.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza said the lack of legal framework for the TNF had been undermining its full potential to contribute to sustainable socio-economic development.
She said the decision to legislate TNF would enable the emergence of a more accountable, transparent, effective and responsive social dialogue.
“In today’s socio-economic environment, which has brought unprecedented and extremely complex challenges, it is evident that the work of TNF becomes even more relevant and central to Government,” said Minister Nzenza.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said the TNF platform was part of Government’s Transtional Stabilisation Programme.
“This trinity has to close the trust deficit,” said Prof Ncube.
Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) acting president Mr Israel Murefu said the absence of a legal framework made it difficult to effectively implement resolutions.
“The TNF business is underpinned by consensus building and win-win arrangements. This means that compromise, empathy and sacrifice for the common good will be unavoidable for purposes of making progress in the TNF’s deliberations,” he said.
“It must be admitted that mistakes have been made by all sides in the past and these must be acknowledged and lessons drawn from them if we are to have a more accountable, transparent, effective, productive and responsive social dialogue platform capable of contribute to the sustainable development of the country,” said Mr Murefu.
ZCTU president Mr Peter Mutasa described the launch as a step in the right direction.
He said national programmes could not succeed without broad-based participation.
The TNF launch was attended by several Government ministers, captains of industry, diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe, and trade unions, among other stakeholders.