BULAWAYO – There was chaos in the Bulawayo central business district this Tuesday morning as riot police were engaged in running battles with National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) workers’ wives who were protesting against the parastatal management for failing to pay their husbands’ salaries.
Over 150 wives of NRZ workers gathered at the train station near Raylton Club in Bulawayo on Tuesday morning to demonstrate against the railway company’s management for failing to pay their husbands’ salaries for the past eight months. During the demonstration the women were carrying placards written “We are hungry pay our husbands now”, Our Children out of School” and Eight months without food.”
However police in riot gear pounced on the women as they tried to march into city centre and they started dispersing running away in all directions. An hour later they regrouped and gathered at NRZ headquarters in along Fife Street in the city centre and police again pounced on them and ordered them to disperse immediately saying the march was illegally.No arrest were made this morning during the protest.
Mary Nyoni one of the protesters said: “We are suffering, we have no money for food and our children are out school because NRZ has not paid our husbands for the past eight months. That is why we are here; we want an explanation from the management”.
When contacted for comment NRZ public relations manager Fanuel Masikati said: “Those were just wives of the workers who were demonstrating and we don’t deal with wives of workers since we don’t have any contracts with them. We only have contracts with their husbands.”
NRZ, like other state parastatals is facing numerous problems, stemming from lack of funds to import spare parts and improve services. Most of NRZ diesel and electrical locomotives are out of service while passenger and freight services are constantly cancelled.
Further, the company is seriously indebted, making it impossible to solve this situation without external help. Other challenges facing the company include vandalised communication equipment and dilapidated yard facilities. The Zimbabwean