- Category: Comment
- Written by Nation Online
We have said it before and we will say it again, there must be Executive intervention into the strike for the civil servants to feel that the President cares about their concerns.
The civil service strike has now gone on for over one week and has affected social services such as schools, hospitals, the road traffic department and even airports, to the point that airlines flying into and out of Malawi were not allowed to do so yesterday.
Surprisingly, the President has missed out on several opportunities to address the striking workers. We believe her words would have made a big difference in the whole action.
The statement released by Capital Hill that government was making an offer and then Finance Minister Ken Lipenga’s remarks that government cannot afford the 67 percent hike as proposed by the workers, only made matters worse.
Yesterday saw the civil servants marching with a petition to Capital Hill calling for removal of the head of the Government Negotiating Team (GNT) and that Lipenga withdraws his statement if the workers and government are to return to the negotiating table.
Money issues are always sensitive and public officials like the Finance Minister need to be careful with what they say. Making such statements at a time people are suffering is not the most sensible thing. It suggests that authorities do not care about the people’s feelings and are only concerned about media spins.
At a time when the air is pregnant with resentment, the least any government official can do is fan the fires.
Indeed the cost of living is shooting up by the day, and government is crippled by the strike, but confrontation will not help us.
One hopes government will handle this situation more pragmatically than it has done so far.
A personal intervention by the President or her vice will help solve the stalemate that we have reached and help the country move on.