Why stay away will not work in Zimbabwe People go about their usual business on Monday in Harare, flagrantly disregarding the call to stay away from work

Innocent Mujeri

Herald Correspondent

Last Monday some internal and external opposition forces were left with an egg on their faces after their plot to bring the country to a standstill through an illegally organised stay away flopped dismally after the majority of people went on their normal daily routines.

Civic society organisations and some opposition political figures had called for a national shutdown in protest against the alleged social and economic crises. 

However, when the day for the stay away came, Harare was a beehive of activity starting from early morning, with reports from across the country indicating there was no sign of protests. 

The opposition, including South Africa’s Mmusi Maimane, had called for a stay away as a way of protesting against alleged economic meltdown in the country. 

However, Zimbabweans showed the world that they have come of age and they cannot allow anyone to compel them to do something that was not beneficial to them.

There are a number of reasons why the opposition led stay away flopped and will never materialise in Zimbabwe. First of all, Zimbabweans have come to understand that as much as the economy was not performing as expected, the blame should not be put squarely on Government as its efforts to turn around the economy were being hindered by the illegal sanctions imposed by the West. 

If the Government was not innovative and not thinking outside the box, this country would have collapsed a long time ago as the illegal sanctions have become an albatross on the Government development plans. 

Zimbabweans are now aware of this reality that without the illegal sanctions, the country’s economy would be performing better than that of other countries. 

Because of this realisation, last Monday Zimbabweans refused to be accomplices in injuring the economy that was already bleeding from wounds inflicted by the illegal sanctions.

Again, Zimbabweans are now aware that there is a consented effort by the West to effect regime change in the country by any means necessary. 

The West, through their local surrogates, is pushing for the people of Zimbabwe to take to the streets and cause political chaos that would cause the dethronement of the Government. 

However, the people of Zimbabwe no longer have appetite to participate in opposition led stay away as they are a clandestine way of trying to effect regime change in the country. 

Zimbabweans have since unmasked the opposition faces in the country and have since realised that these opposition figures are puppets of the West who are being paid and directed to instigate lawlessness in the country in a bid to cause the collapse of the Government. 

The people have refused to participate in the stay away because they know that the West, through their local foot soldiers, is taking advantage of the economic challenges to whip up people’s emotions.

Another reason why the planned stay away flopped and will continue to flop is that the country is a highly informalised economy where the majority of people have no formal jobs. 

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), about 70 percent of Zimbabwe’ economy is reportedly now informal and employing more than 80 percent of the working population. 

These people who operate their business at Magaba and Siyaso in Mbare cannot heed to a directive from someone sitting comfortably in his office to abandon their work places as a way of fixing the Government. 

These informal workers know that every cent they get from their hustle will go directly into their pockets, hence they cannot risk to miss an hour of work as that will negatively affect their income. 

It is no longer a secret that the generation of stayaways ‘died’ with the late Morgan Tsvangirai’s Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) era. 

Nowadays, over 70 percent of adults are self-employed and they probably would not understand what staying away means. To many Zimbabweans, a stay away is now an old strategy for a new generation. It is not applicable to this generation.

To many Zimbabweans, a stay away has become less fashionable as they know that it has a negative effect on employment, reduces business confidence and increases the risk of economic stagnation. 

The local people are aware that such stayaways have a major setback on the growth of the economy and investment opportunities. 

It is common knowledge that consumer spending is directly linked to economic growth. 

Thus the people of Zimbabwe will not partake in a stay away as the harm will come directly to them and not to the Government.

Moreover, stayaways will not work in Zimbabwe as the unions have been depleted and weakened. 

Unions such as ZCTU and Amalgamated Rural Teachers of Zimbabwe have become money making schemes for their leaders and Zimbabweans are aware of that. 

The local people now know that the success of a stay away or a strike means more money into the pockets of the organisers as they are paid by their handlers to instigate illegal acts against the Government. 

The people of Zimbabwe cannot stay away from their enterprises, small as they might be, because a day lost is crucial. Again, stayaways work when the unions have strong, rooted, and visible leadership. Unfortunately there is a paucity of these traits in the organisations that are calling for the stay way.

My advice to those who might want to use stayaways as a way of communicating their grievances to the Government is that they should change the strategy. 

Stayaways have become unfashionable, out-dated and less influential in pushing an agenda. 

It is better to pursue dialogue and inclusive stakeholder meetings instead of advocating a stay away that would eventually be shunned by the people.

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