HARARE, ZIMBABWE—In a bold move to combat the rising unemployment rate and the growing bedbug infestation in France, the Zimbabwean government announced on Friday that it will send 5,000 jobless people to the European country to fight the pesky insects.
The initiative, dubbed “Operation Bug Buster”, is part of a bilateral agreement between Zimbabwe and France, which will provide the African nation with $50 million in aid and trade benefits in exchange for its human resources.
“We are proud to offer our unemployed citizens a unique opportunity to serve their country and the world by helping our French friends get rid of their bedbug problem,” said Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa at a press conference. “This is a win-win situation for both parties, as we will reduce our unemployment rate and boost our economy, while France will benefit from our expertise and experience in dealing with pests.”
According to the plan, the 5,000 volunteers will be flown to Paris next week, where they will undergo a two-day training course on how to identify, locate, and exterminate bedbugs using various methods, such as heat, steam, pesticides, and manual removal. They will then be assigned to different hotels, apartments, and public places across France, where they will work for six months under the supervision of French authorities.
The volunteers will receive a monthly salary of $500, as well as free accommodation, food, transportation, and health insurance. They will also be given a certificate of appreciation and a medal of honor from the French government upon completion of their mission.
For France and for the fun
“I am very excited to participate in this program,” said Tendai Moyo, a 25-year-old former teacher who lost his job due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I have always wanted to visit France and see its beautiful sights and culture. Now I can do that while also earning some money and helping the French people get rid of their bedbug nightmare. It’s like a dream come true.”
However, not everyone is happy with the initiative. Some critics have accused the Zimbabwean government of exploiting its poor and desperate citizens for its own political and economic gain. They have also raised concerns about the potential health and environmental risks of exposing thousands of people to harmful chemicals and parasites.
“This is a disgraceful and shameful scheme that violates the human rights and dignity of our fellow Zimbabweans,” said Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change. “The government is selling our people as cheap labor and cannon fodder for a foreign power that does not care about their welfare or safety. This is not a solution to our unemployment crisis or our diplomatic relations. This is a betrayal of our sovereignty and our national pride.”
The French government has not yet commented on the controversy, but has expressed its gratitude and appreciation to Zimbabwe for its cooperation and assistance. It has also assured that it will provide all the necessary support and protection to the volunteers during their stay in France.
“We are very thankful to Zimbabwe for its generous and courageous gesture,” said Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs. “We are confident that this partnership will strengthen our friendship and solidarity, as well as help us overcome this common challenge that affects millions of people in France and around the world. Together, we will defeat the bedbugs.”
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