The Stream

Will Zimbabwe’s government heed the call to #BringBackOurNurses?

The Stream takes a look at protests in Zimbabwe and Nigeria, and previews Malaysia’s upcoming general election.

Zimbabwean nurses return to work
The Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZiNA) on Saturday announced an end to nationwide strikes, encouraging its 16,000 members to return to work on Monday. The country’s nurses had been on strike since 16 April, demanding the better pay and working conditions they say the government promised to them in 2010 but never delivered.

Zimbabwean Vice President Constantino Chiwenga on Tuesday said the strike was “politically motivated” and ordered the immediate dismissal of the staff, but ZiNA filed a petition with the court to reverse the decision. In a statement released on Saturday, ZiNA said that by suspending the strike, it hopes to “pave way for the re-opening of negotiations and protection of our workers.”

So, can ZiNA and Zimbabwe’s government find common ground?

Nigerians tell government to #StopTheSoot

Civil liberties activists and residents of Port Harcourt, Nigeria marched on Thursday demanding the government take action to improve air quality. Authorities say the pollution can be attributed to activities in abattoirs and illegal oil refiners, and Rivers State Governor Nyesom has accused the federal government for the degradation of the environment. But many online have been sharing photos and videos of soot-filled neighbourhoods and dirt-covered hands and feet for months.

So, are Port Harcourt residents doomed to breathe soot-filled air, or can the government help improve living conditions in the area?

Malaysia’s upcoming general election

Malaysians head to the polls on Wednesday, 9 May for the country’s general election. Although it’s been declared a holiday, critics of incumbent Prime Minister Najib Razak’s United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) say holding the election on a weekday instead of the weekend will make it particularly difficult for some people to vote.

Challenging Najib and the UMNO’s National Front coalition is a four-party alliance led by 92-year-old former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Mohamad has attempted to rally supporters using the slogan “Reformasi” – a phrase originally used to criticise his administration and its treatment of jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

While Mohamad hopes to draw voters’ attention to the corruption scandals that have beleaguered Najib’s administration, the prime minister’s ruling party has promised to institute a variety of financial measures to help Malaysians live “peacefully and prosperously.” Najib also maintains a degree of support among some rural communities.

So, will Prime Minister Najib Razak’s promises pay off at the polls, or will Malaysia’s longest-serving premier make a comeback?

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

Tendai Marina @i_amten
Freelance Journalist

Sandra Ezekwesili @SEzekwesili
Host, Good Morning Nigeria

Azmi Sharom
Associate Professor, University of Malaya

Read more:
Zimbabwe nurses end strike, challenge dismissal in court – Reuters
Rivers residents, CLO seek end to ‘black soot’ menace – The Guardian 
Malaysia’s Najib Banks on Cash Handouts as Election Date Is Set – Wall Street Journal

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