A month into a strike by doctors in the Zimbabwe’s public hospitals
An untold number of Zimbabweans have been turned away from public medical facilities since Sept. 3, when just more than 500 junior doctors, paid less than $200 a month, went on strike, demanding better wages as well as equipment and supplies for treating patients. Hundreds of senior doctors with the same complaints joined the strike, further diminishing treatment options in the southern African country of 14 million. labor groups representing the doctors rejected the government’s offer of a 60% salary increase, and the government has threatened to withhold the pay of striking doctors.
The strike has paralyzed the public health system, pregnant women dying, and victims of road traffic accidents dying. Patients admitted into public hospitals before the strike have no guarantee of quality care, either, given gaps in staffing and shortages of medical equipment, such as diagnostic tools, surgical gloves and pain medicine.
Senior doctors last month had joined their junior counterparts in demonstrating for the release of Peter Magombeyi, who had led the strike as acting president of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association. He allegedly had been abducted from his home September 14, resurfacing several days later outside of Harare and in pain.
Rising inflation and prices have had a devastating impact on ordinary workers’ incomes for those lucky enough to be in work or to have a pension have been massively eroded, condemning many to abject poverty. Most people are unable to pay for critical services, be it education, housing, healthcare or transport.
THE WORKING CLASS LEADERSHIP IS FAILING TO GIVE A WAY OUT:
Doctors are fighting alone, teachers, banking sector, vendors are all fighting alone sector by sector, there’s no unity from the workers leadership to unite and call for a general strike. Trade unionists Peter Mutasa called upon the MDC leadership to roll out demonstrations countrywide to force President Emmerson to heed the voices of workers and the unemployed whom he said were suffering under Zanu-PF rule. Mutasa, who is the president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), spoke at the MDC’s 20th anniversary held at the Rufaro Stadium, the same venue where the MDC was formed in 1999. And at the same gathering, the MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa threatened a new wave of demonstrations to ostensibly pressure President Emmerson Mnangagwa into dialogue, which he hopes will lead to a power-sharing agreement.
Zimbabwean main opposition party MDC now led by neoliberal elite lawyers in its presidium and the leadership remove all workers leaders since its formation. The neo-liberal looks to be firmly in control leaving the workers out. On the other hand the trade union bureaucracies and the left that speaks on behalf of socialism but practices opportunism has subordinated to social pacts, such as ZCTU leadership with the government, dividing workers struggles. Yesterday, ISO, subordinated workers to the bourgeoisie by calling to vote for the. Today, all of them promise a “dialogue” that is only good for the IMF and the bourgeoisie.
The working class must give a way out for the crisis that the workers in Zimbabwe are facing today. Set up the power of those of below, the broad majority of the subjugated nation, to disarm the bourgeoisie!
To take a first step forward, we need to conquer rank and file assemblies in all remaining factories, mines and workplaces! It is necessary to set up a coordination organ of all the workers in struggle, of the unemployed workers, militant youth, poor peasants, the doctors the vendors, mine workers, civil servants and municipality workers and students to fight together!
Enough of collaborationist union bureaucracies! For a revolutionary leadership of the unions! The struggle for better wages is won in the street not on negotiations and civil servants should unite with the vendors, private sector, mines and farm workers and make it a single fight.
We have to set up self-defense committees and the workers militia and take the struggle in our hands to impose a revolutionary General Strike that will shake Zimbabwe from its foundations and put the fall of the infamous regime on the agenda! We call all the organisations that speak in the name of the working class demands must break with the government and bourgeoisie that starve and dismiss us!
Only the working class of Zimbabwe, united to the working class is the one that can guarantee the bread, the land, the national independence and even the struggle for the most extreme democratic liberties.
Revolutionary General Strike now until the government falls and we expel imperialism out of Zimbabwe! Out with the imperialist transnationals! Let’s take to the streets.
Issued by Workers International League of Zimbabwe section of FLTI