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Launch of TNF brightens future for Zimbabweans


Harare,(New Ziana) – The impending operationalization of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum this week should come as a great relief to many Zimbabweans as it carries high expectations of a possible end to the suffering which they have endured for a long time.

The stated aims of the TNF are to bring the government, organized business and organized labour together in negotiation to tackle social and economic challenges facing the country.

First mooted in 1998 when the country was undergoing economic upheaval caused by the sanctions that Western countries imposed, the TNF floundered along the way owing to mistrust among the social partners, who accused each other of not negotiating in good faith.

While the other two social partners accused the government of being arbitrary in introducing certain economic policies, the government accused them of lacking a national vision as business increased prices willy nilly while labour occasionally engaged in strikes.

The government pointed to the odd arrangement where labour was acquiescing with the employer as evidence of a conspiracy in the regime change agenda which Western countries were pushing vigorously at the time.

With the advent of the Second Republic which has stated its major thrust as building bridges and rebuilding the economy, there has been renewed interest in social dialogue to tackle the issues affecting the country.

The renewed push for social dialogue saw the government crafting the TNF Bill and tabling it in Parliament, which passed it on the 23rd May, 2019.

President Mnangagwa assented to the Bill and launched the Act on 5th June, 2019, paving the way for the establishment of a platform for social partners to discuss pertinent issues affecting the economy under a legislated framework as opposed to the past when it was on a voluntary basis.

The TNF held its inaugural meeting on 26th June, 2019 after President Mnangagwa promulgated the social dialogue law and deliberated on the need to come up with sector specific proposals.

Former Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza, Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) acting president Dr Israel Murefu, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions president Mr Peter Mutasa, Apex council chairperson Cecilia Alexander and Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions secretary-general Kennias Shamuyarira attended the meeting.

Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement deputy Minister Vangelis Haritatos as well as Mines and Mining Development deputy Minister Polite Kambamura also attended the inaugural meeting, which mandated the Technical Committee to come up with concrete proposals on various issues.

The issues included prices and incomes stabilisation, measures to promote economic viability, measures to build trust and shared vision as well as operationalization of the TNF Act.

The forum, however, remained dormant as its underpinning structures, the Technical Committee and the Management Committee, were not fully constituted.

Deputy chief secretary to the President and Cabinet, Nicholas Kitikiti chairs the TNF Technical Committee.

Operationalisation of the TNF is expected to add impetus to efforts by President Mnangagwa to find solutions to challenges facing the country which have seen him setting up a 26 member Presidential Advisory Council to advise and assist him in formulating key economic policies and strategies that advance Vision 2030.

Vision 2030 entails making Zimbabwe an upper middle-income country with gross national income per capita of between $3 896 and $12 055, according to the World Bank’s technical calculations, implying high standards of living for citizens.

The advisory council comprises experts and leaders drawn from diverse sectors like business, health and social protection, agriculture, governance and human rights, faith-based organisations, tourism, education, minorities, ICT, civic society, communication and media management.

It is supposed to hold quarterly brainstorming or feedback meetings with the President and ad hoc meetings as and when necessary.

President Mnangagwa has also established the Political Actors Dialogue which brings together 17 political parties that participated in the 2018 Presidential elections, again to discuss issues affecting the country.

It is against this background that the operationalization of the TNF will re-kindle the hopes of Zimbabweans for better fortunes as all economic sector players forge a united front and vision.

New Ziana

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