The good turnout at various points where the Worker’s Day celebrations were being held this year should be of great concern to leaders of the ruling ZANU-PF especially when one takes into consideration that people were not bussed to these venues.
It should also put the credibility of the existing opposition parties into question since they too have failed to master such support despite the increasing apathy towards the ruling party.
Hats off too to the cash-strapped Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation for giving the event so much air time, first allocating it the entire time reserved for the always informative Outreach programme, and later on in the main news bulletin.
The entire print media though, perhaps because journalists do not consider themselves as workers, almost put the event on holiday as the day itself was a public holiday.
The public celebrations, the first to be entirely organised by the workers, and which even President Mugabe declined to attend, demonstrated that people were ready for change. They also demonstrated that the existing opposition political parties are less popular than the labour movement.
While the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade unions has insisted that it does not intend to transform into a political party or movement, it appears they will soon have no choice since it is bread and butter issues that are becoming more and more important to the ordinary person. There have already been calls from some of the independent papers that the ZCTU should review its stand.
The staging of the event, particularly the air time it was given on the ZBC, is also of paramount importance since speaker after speaker came on to lambaste the government. This could not have been allowed in the past.
Tsvangirai, though not the main speaker, did more damage in his short speech than even the ZCTU president did later on. He said the only thing ESAP had succeeded to do was to expose its failures.
People were worse off now than before ESAP was introduced yet when ESAP was introduced people were told that there would be hardships at first but things would ultimately change for the better.
Calling for the removal of either the President or his cabinet Tsvangirai said if a team was relegated from the super league to the third division, the only thing that could be done to save the team was either to sack the coach president) or revamp the players (cabinet).
Although it was said succinctly this was perhaps the first time there has been an open call for President Mugabe to step down. Most of the calls have tried to spare the president as a good leader being hampered by bad advice from his lieutenants, but he has so far failed to get rid of his excessive lieutenants hence, perhaps, the call for him to step down.