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Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye: Ode to Zimbabwe’s toiling workers

By Luke Tamborinyoka

Today is Workers’ Day and we must all accord due veneration to those who sweat it out every day to give meaning to the lives of their loved ones and those around them.

Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye with Luke Batsirai Tamborinyoka
Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye with Luke Batsirai Tamborinyoka

They toil every day to bring food on the table and on this special day, the world pays tribute to the workers—-this special breed that brings dignity to the sacred institution called family.

In Zimbabwe, the day must assume a unique dimension as the civil servants of this land are slugging it out under very difficult circumstances, worsened by an inept government that does not care for its own workers, worse still for everyone else.

To the toiling civil servants of this land, this is your day. With salaries that can barely take your families for a week, we salute you.

For me, special mention must go to the teachers because there are so many of them in my immediate family. Today is your special day. To all the teachers of this country, who continue to give our children education and who can still afford to exude smiles and affection to those around them in spite of their parlous living circumstances, we salute you.

Special mention must go to the teachers at Tsatse School, my rural school in Shumba ward in Domboshava where I did my primary education. This is the place that it all began; the place that I call home and today, I pay special tribute to all the teachers there who can barely eke out a living.

Some of them are supplementing their meagre income by moulding clay products for sale while their uncaring employer looks away indifferently. To the lady teachers at this school who last year came to Tamborinyoka village during the holidays, asked for permission and dug a whole anthill to mould bricks for sale, this is your special day. We salute your fortitude and dedication.

In my whole life, I had never seen teachers “running” bricks, let alone female teachers! But then this is the “new” dispensation and there is newness and novelty in many respects. Under Mnangagwa, virtually all civil servants have become a sorry sight, their dignity swept away by the hurricane of ineptitude personified by their own employers.

To the doctors, nurses and the rest of the health staff working under tenuous conditions, this is your day.

To the police and the disciplined members of our uniformed forces, this is your day. Indeed, to all our suffering uniformed forces, your Commander-In-Chief has bought himself an $18 million private jet so he can fly over your sorry predicament!

To the few workers still in formal employment, this is your day. We know you are slugging it out under very tough conditions to give some semblance of life to the fading heartthrob of our economy, a heartthrob that has now calcified into a barely discernible pulse.

To the teeming millions by the roadside–the now booming informal industry on the country’s pavements and the various vending markets across the country, this is your day. We salute you for choosing honesty and chastity rather over crime and kleptocracy.

This is your day.

To the hollering industry by the roadside—where everyone is selling something to someone at high pitch, this is your day. You have chosen a life of honesty to work for your families and to send those innocent kids to school.

We salute you.

To those gallant youths who have decided to work towards inheriting a better future, we pay a special ode to you on this special day. Makomborero Haruzivishe, Obey Tererai Sithole, Joannah Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri, Netsai Marova and many other youths currently in custody for working towards a dignified future, we salute you today.

To the suffering mothers at home, the single mothers, widows, widowers and those leading child-headed families who slug it out under very difficult circumstances, we can only extend veneration to all of you.

To the ZCTU and those many unions whose job is to represent the toiling masses of our this our cursed land, we give you our salutation!

And yet among this valiant lot we are celebrating today, there is a cursed breed whose daily work is to repress and increase our suffering.

Curse be unto those who are working to reverse the people’s sovereign will as expressed in the new Constitution and in the elected officials that are being recalled everyday. While the people worked hard to write a Constitution for themselves and made their choices known in an election, the regime and its surrogates are working hard to undo the people’s expression on both respects.

These are workers with a wicked difference and we pray that they all be cursed.

Lastly, fare thee well to Charles Chifamba, the MDC Alliance’s hero in ward 6 of Goromonzi West who passed away two days ago and will be buried today in Rusape. You were a worker with a difference and you worked hard in the last election, resulting in Tongai Kamusori of the MDC Alliance becoming the first ever people’s councillor from the people’s party in this ward.

Ward 6 of Goromonzi West houses the famous Glen Forest cemetery and for the first time in 2018, through the sweat of Chifamba and others, we buried Zanu PF at Glen Forest in this ward.

Charles Chifamba, the fruits of your labour in this ward will always remain your legacy. You have left your own indelible footprints on the sands of history in Goromonzi West. On this Workers Day, as they inter you in the loamy soils of Rusape today, we shall always remember your great work in our home area.

We remember you this Workers Day for your great work that shall live forever.

Gi well my brother. Famba zvakanaka Chifamba.

Luke Tamborinyoka is the Deputy Secretary for Presidential Affairs in the MDC Alliance led by the people’s President Advocate Nelson Chamisa . You can interact with him on his Facebook page or on the twitter handle @ luke_tambo .

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