Today, May 1st, is International Workers’ Day, so celebrated and commemorated officially in more than 80 countries of the world, including Tanzania where it is a public holiday.
Also known as ‘Labour Day’ – or, simply, as ‘May Day’ – May 1st was chosen as an International Workers’ Day in 1889 basically for political reasons by the Marxist International Socialist Congress of delegates from twenty world countries.
Held in Paris, France, the Congress established the Second International Workingmen’s Association, an organisation of socialist and labour parties formed at the Paris meeting.
All this was happening on the advent of industrialisation when, for example, industrialists in the United States were exploiting the working class by making them work for 15 hours a day – and for measly pay.
On May 1, 1886, the workers came together and revolted against what they rightly considered an unjust and inhumane system, and demanded an eight-hour work-day.
What with one thing leading to another, May Day has become a truly international affair, with the global working class who exchange their labour for a salary – call them ‘proletariats,’ if you will – estimated by the International Labour Organisation (ILOSTAT) at 3.468 billion in 2019, up from 2.325 billion in 1990.
In Tanzania, successor governments have always – and almost invariably – strived to improve workers’ conditions, both at the workplace and at the family/household level within communities.
For example, the government has time and again stressed on succeeding Workers Day the importance of formal and just employment contracts for workers, insisting that the labour laws must be strictly observed.
To that noble end, we call upon the relevant authorities – including the very government itself – to make occupational health and safety a fundamental right of every worker in Tanzania.
Surely, this can be done – and, as such, we do not hesitate to say let us GET IT DONE!
AS TOKYO OLYMPICS LOOM...
Only 82 days are left to the Olympic Games slated to take place in Tokyo, Japan, on July 23-August 8 this year.
So far, only two Tanzanian athletes, Failuna Matanga and Alphonce Simbu, have attained the qualification marks in the Marathon ahead of the historic quadrennial multisport Olympics which started in 1896.
Tanzanian amateur boxers who competed in the Dakar qualifying event in Senegal failed to make it to Tokyo, while Judo and Swimming contenders are yet to compete in qualifying events.
Swimmers Collins Saliboko and Hilal Hilal are due to compete in the Stellenbosch qualifiers in South Africa on May 7 and 8, while three judokas are due to compete in Dakar mid-this month.
But, the national swimming governing body TSA is struggling to secure funds (Sh10 million) to enable the swimmers and their coaches to travel to South Africa.
Indeed, TSA has requested the government to financially support them, although time is not on their side, as the Tokyo Games draw closer by the day, every day.
So, let’s support the swimmers in making it to Stellenbosch – and, hopefully, quality for Tokyo so as to add to the number of Tanzanians at the Summer Olympics.
Specifically, the government should step into the breach apace to keep Tanzania on the world map of sports.