Government Abruptly Declares May 1 a Public Holiday

April 29, 2024
International Workers Day May 1st | Report Focus News
International Workers Day May 1st

ZIMBABWE | The Government declared Thursday, May 1, as a public holiday to commemorate May Day, now named Workers’ Day in Zimbabwe. Labour and Social Welfare Minister Mr. Kumbiral Kangai affirmed that this holiday, a tradition in progressive nations globally, would honor the contributions of the workforce.

May Day, initially established as an international labour day in 1889, holds significance for left-wing political demonstrations in communist nations, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica. Mr. Kangai outlined plans for noon rallies across major cities, emphasizing the importance of worker participation and national responsibility.

“We plan to have noon rallies in all the cities and major centres of the country. The rallies will be addressed by Government officials, who will also educate the workers to realize their responsibilities to the nation,” Mr. Kangai said.

While expressing regret over the delay in announcing the move, the minister expressed hope that the celebrations would proceed as planned. He noted that although May 1 would be a public holiday, workers responsible for essential services should continue their normal duties. “At any rate, the rallies we have planned will be held during lunchtime so as to allow even these workers to participate and then go back to their work,” he added.

There was no immediate comment on the Government’s decision from the Associated Chambers of Commerce of Zimbabwe and the Association of Zimbabwean Industries. However, our correspondent reported that Bulawayo heads of commerce and industry were taken by surprise at the decision.

When contacted, neither Mr. Raphael Chitrin, president of Bulawayo’s Chamber of Commerce, nor Mr. Basil Katz, president of the local Chamber of Industry, had been informed of the decision. “You must be joking,” said Mr. Chitrin, declining to comment further on the potential effect of the short notice on commerce.

Mr. Katz expressed astonishment at the news. “I think these things should be planned well in advance. At such short notice, the flow of work in industry can only be hampered, especially if legislation requires everyone to take the day off,” he said. “Factories have orders to put through which will be delayed by the holiday, and even if it was left to each industry to decide whether to take the day off, it will cause a lot of confusion and disruption.”