Zimbabwe Civil Servants Oppose Government’s “Vaccinate or Resign” Directive
Written by Derrick Asaba on October 19, 2021
Union leaders in Zimbabwe have vehemently opposed the government’s announcement made yesterday, Sunday that workers who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 will no longer be allowed at work and will not be paid.
This comes after a statement by Zimbabwe’s secretary for Information, Ndabaningi Nick Mangwan over the weekend that unvaccinated workers would not be allowed to work starting today.
“There is no extension to the deadline of October 15, when civil servants are expected to all have been vaccinated, failure of which those who are not vaccinated would not be allowed to work,” he said.
The President of the Progressive Teacher’s Union of Zimbabwe, Takavafira Zhou told Voice of America that there was no agreement made over the issue of vaccination rendering it unilateral.
“Our position as workers has always remained that we encourage our members to be vaccinated. But by no means should our encouragement be misconstrued for mandatory vaccination,” Zhou said.
He added that vaccination must be voluntary and also invest in the efficacy of vaccination by explaining to members how vaccination would assist them in terms of boosting their immunity which has not been done yet.
Against this, Zhou urged all civil servants to continue going to work until they are dismissed by the Public Service Commission though some unions were considering going to court over purported dismissals.
“The members will only stop going to work if there is a formal letter, it will still be challenged because its legality must also be established. As of now the teachers still remain at their stations, demotivated of course, shimmering in poverty and misery but they remain employees of the government,” he added.
Zhou said Zimbabweans were shunning vaccinations for several reasons from religious reasons to lack of knowledge about COVID-19 vaccines.
Also, due to lack of trust in the imported Chinese SINOVAC and SINOPHARM vaccines which he says the government ought to understand first.
Zimbabwe’s government says it has 2,472,859 people fully vaccinated since the program started in February.
Zimbabwe currently has 132,333 confirmed Coronavirus infections and 4,657 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, which tracks the global outbreak.
Civil servants, especially teachers, have long complained about lack of adequate protective equipment in classrooms to curb the spread of COVID-19. Zimbabwe’s government, however, maintains it is providing enough resources in the fight against the pandemic.