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Hard hit Zimbabwe workers hopeful of improved prospects in 2018 | Coastweek

HARARE Zimbabwe -- "Reconciliation", a stone sculpture [left] by Zimbabwe artist Amos Supuni. Fresh Onions, cassava, tomotoes and sweet potatoes [right] on sale at the popular downtown Mbare Municipal Market, Harare. PHOTOS - WIKIPEDIA

Hard hit Zimbabwe workers hopeful of improved prospects in 2018


HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Workers are hoping for better fortunes in 2018 as the new political leadership pledges to implement reforms that will lead to a turnaround of the economy, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) said Monday.

ZCTU secretary-general Japhet Moyo told Xinhua in an interview that the previous two years had been bad for workers with companies applying to retrench up to 1,200 employees each quarter, but pledges by the new government led by new President Emmerson Mnangagwa had lifted workers’ spirits.

"We have not experienced any company closures yet and there is hope that workers will keep their jobs while others who are not at work will be hired, given promises by the new administration that they will be doing some reforms to improve the economy.

Among the challenges workers faced during the past two years were cash shortages, static wages and retrenchments, he said.

"There are now a lot of expectations and we hope those expectations will not turn into desperation."

Moyo said government should quickly turn the promises it had made into action if there were to be changes in the lives of workers.

"We are expecting the new administration to walk the talk and turn around our fortunes.

"There have been promises to change some laws impeding economic transformation and people expect to see amendments to various pieces of legislation such as the indigenization act and the land reform act.

"We have been told that people will no longer be allowed to invade farms but the law that empowers them to do so is still there," he said.

He said some "positive small issues" had already taken place like the reduction of police roadblocks on the major highways.

"Last year our people in the tourism sector were complaining about the roadblocks but this year they hope that more tourists will be able to come into the country so that the tourism industry remains vibrant and workers keep their jobs."

He also appealed to the government to deal with rising prices of basic commodities.

"Workers have not had wage increases for three years yet some prices have doubled during the same period, particularly in late 2017," he said.


Zimbabwe reduces "overly ambitious" target of voter registration

HARARE (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s electoral body has revised the number of voters it targets to register for this year’s elections from the initial 7 million to 5.5 million.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) acting chairperson Emmanuel Magade told a press conference Tuesday that the initial target of 7 million was "overly ambitious."

"We were overly, extravagantly ambitious. Zimbabwe has a population of 15 million people and out of that 50-55 percent are under the age of 18 and therefore ineligible.

"We also have a significant number of Zimbabweans in the diaspora," Magade said.

He said the electoral body would be extremely pleased if it manages to register over 5 million voters after 4.9 million voters were registered during the two-month mobile bio-metric voter registration that ended in December last year.

ZEC will run another month-long nationwide registration blitz from Jan. 10 to Feb. 8 to cater for eligible voters who failed to register during the two-month period.

After the end of the mobile registration exercise in February, voter registration will continue at 63 static centers across the country until a few weeks before the election.

"We will be over the moon if we manage to register over 5 million people and we are on our way to meet that target.

"We are within shouting distance of the target," Magade said.

Zimbabwe’s voting population has been around 3.5 million in the previous 2008 and 2013 elections.

ZEC is using the bio-metric voter registration system for the first time and every eligible Zimbabwean must register afresh to participate in the polls set for mid year.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa who replaced former president Robert Mugabe last November will be the ruling ZANU-PF’s presidential candidate in the polls.

Zimbabwe road accidents claim 136 during festive season: police

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- At least 136 people died in about 1,400 road traffic accidents during the festive season covering Dec. 15, 2017 to Jan. 1, 2018, state media reported Thursday.

Police spokesperson Charity Charamba told The Herald that another 755 people were injured during the same period, attributing most of the accidents to disregard of road regulations, speeding and faulty vehicles.

"A total of 1,398 accidents were recorded this year compared to 1,396 last year.

136 people died this year compared to 89 last year and 755 people were injured compared to 565 last year," she said.


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