Linda Masarira Forms Her Own Party
LINDA Masarira, the former MDC-T national spokesperson, has announced the launch of a new political party named Labour, Economists Afrikan Democrats (LEAD).
Linda, who before joining politics worked for the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) as an assistant train driver as well as a trade unionist from 2006 up to 2012, says she intends to address the pleas of the disenfranchised worker as well as other key interest groups such as former liberation fighters, women, and students among others.
In a preamble to the launch document, the Labour Economists Afrikan Democrats (LEAD) says it “invites all Pan Afrikan Zimbabwean workers, students, farmers, traders, CSOs, Transgender groups, women rights groups, children rights groups, freedom fighters, citizens in diaspora and citizens to join hands in reclaiming the people’s revolution which has been captured, subverted and diverted by agents of neocolonialism. Together we can.”
The party identifies with the Zimbabwean worker, which it says has been ignored by all the existing opposition parties as well as the ruling party ZANU-PF. As a result of such neglect, the party says the Zimbabwean worker has emigrated to foreign lands where they are subjected to unfair labour practices as well as scourges such as xenophobia in the case of South Africa.
Reads the preamble: “The case of the Zimbabwean worker today is a sad story which has seen over 80% of the working class and the generality of people living below the living wage.
“The remainder of Zimbabwean citizens were forced to seek economic refugee in foreign lands where they not only sell their labour cheaply but work under conditions which can be referred to as modern day slavery.
“These gallant sons and daughters of the Zimbabwean soil are riling under xenophobic attacks in countries like South Afrika and Botswana. To make matters worse the agents of imperialism stripped Zimbabwe of its national dignity by taking away its investment power the Zimbabwean dollar. Without a local currency, Zimbabwe is not able to create meaningful wealth to cause economic growth.”
LEAD also takes issue with the greed, corruption and nepotism in government, which has reduced civil servants to the laughing stock in the communities they live in. It says agents of neocolonialism have captured key arms of government, rendering it unable to satisfy the needs of the worker.
“Before 1980 we led a political revolution which saw us shackling off the chains of colonialism bringing about the political revolution and freedom we are enjoying today. However, because of naivety, greed and corruption, we created divisions among our ranks and let our erstwhile enemies creep back in and subvert the revolution.
“As a result all arms of government were captured by agents of capital and neocolonialism and they have through the years systematically undermined the people’s government.
“For them to gain full control they have led on onslaught on wage labour reducing all workers and citizens into destitution.”
Masarira, who herself heroically fought for the rights of workers at the National Railways of Zimbabwe where she worked for a long time, says the fight is to put back dignity of work.
“After we reach our goals, we intend to keep on empowering the masses through policies that put back dignity of work. The Zimbabwean worker has been disenfranchised by both the ruling party and the existing opposition parties.
“Pensioners are getting a pittance from the government and former employers in the private sector, and both the ruling party and the existing opposition parties have been going on for a long time as if everything’s okay. Nothing is alright. We need to reclaim the dignity of both the retired worker, the current worker, and the future worker.”
She however insists that LEAD will also be alive to the needs and aspirations of other interest groups that include students, women, former freedom fighters and the diaspora community.”
Says the LEAD document: “We the workers and disadvantaged groups of Zimbabwe also realise the spirit of Pan Afrikanism which fueled the revolutions for political emancipation resulting the formation of the Organization of Afrikan Union has died.
“We therefore take it upon ourselves to work starting in Zimbabwe to rekindle this flame and push fellow workers throughout Afrika to redirect the Afrikan effort towards getting Afrika take her seat at the table of continents on an equal footing.
“In doing so we want to go into the world wielding our formidable resource and labour power which for years has been used to develop Europe and the United States of America. It’s no robbery for Afrikan labourers to demand the humane treatment of the Afrikan and the refusal by Afrika to be referred to as a third world.
“We have developed cultural values and technologies which have contributed immensely to the modernization of the world and demand fair treatment.”
LEAD seems to take its cue from the MDC of 1999 which launched off as a social democratic party, with the worker as its central point of focus. The MDC, however, also had an overbearing critical mass of white commercial farmers.
Speaking in a interview, Masarira says her movement will be all-encompassing. She says the struggle is to reclaim the people’s revolution which has been captured and diverted by agents of neocolonialism in Zimbabwe.
She said: “We, Pan Afrikan Zimbabwean workers, students, farmers, traders, CSOs, Transgender groups, women rights groups, children rights groups, freedom fighters, citizens in diaspora and citizens join hands to reclaiming the people’s revolution which has been captured, subverted and diverted by agents of neocolonialism in the Republic of Zimbabwe.
“We realise that Zimbabwe is our land and hereby commit to take charge of the social, economic, environmental and political processes that enable this country to go forward.”
Masarira says a press conference will be held in the coming week.
Masarira spent close to 90 days locked inside Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison on charges of insulting former Zimbabwean strongman Robert Mugabe during the last years of his rule. This was after she had addressed workers in Mutare and told the gathering that the president (Mugabe) as head of government that is in charge of parastatals was responsible for the decay in parastatals like the NRZ.
Before that, she had been abducted in 2012 for three days in Bulawayo.
“They assaulted me and I have scars from the use of brute force. They wanted to know who was sending me (to demand fair and just treatment of NRZ workers), but I was fighting for workers’ money at the time,” she said.
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