Police ban ZCTU march

HARARE - Police in Harare have banned a planned march against violation of workers’ rights in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the country’s largest labour union, wanted to mark the September 14, 2006 police brutality which saw trade unionists Wellington Chibebe and Lovemore Matombo, among other high profile officials, severely assaulted by police for organising a workers’ protest.

According to communication exchanges between police and ZCTU secretary general Japhet Moyo, the union was initially given the nod to conduct a clean-up exercise and march before the U-turn.

“Your notification letter to host a commemoration on trade union rights on the September 14, 2013 at Globe House Jason Moyo Avenue, 2nd Floor starting with a cleanup at Copacabana and a march from 0930 hours to 1330 hours has been noted,” wrote officer commanding Harare district Newbert Saunyama on August 20.

“Please confine your cleanup, route and event to the above stated venues and times outlined. We will monitor.”

Seven days later, police made a dramatic U-turn, saying the march was risky as “some elements were waiting to hijack the procession.”

“Please note that the permission that was since granted to your notification letter to hold a clean-up event and march on the 14th of September 2013 from 0930 hours to 1330 hours has been withdrawn due to security reasons,” Saunyama said in a September 3 letter.

“The political situation is not yet conducive for such events as unscrupulous elements might take advantage and hijack the whole programme.

“You can however, go ahead with gathering at Globe House for your commemorations. Any inconveniences caused are sincerely regretted.”

At least 147 labour activists were allegedly arrested by police countrywide during a demonstration against high taxation, below Poverty Datum Line earnings and lack of statutes to enforce collective bargaining agreements among other things.

The 2006 demonstrations also wanted to force government to ensure that workers benefit from the HIV and Aids fund through free distribution of anti-retroviral drugs.

They also demanded a stop in the implementation of the compulsory National Health Insurance Scheme that was to be administered by the National Social Security Authority (NSSA).

This is not the first time the police have banned such an event as in 2011, Kuwadzana police declined to sanction the commemorations saying “it would open up healed wounds”.


Comments (2)

Thank you officers you were right.To tag the march a clean-up campaign was a mere cover up.Vanofunga vangakuvharai manje makavhurika kare.

Chikwanda - 10 September 2013

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