Police ban ZCTU demos

MASVINGO - Police have banned Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) demonstrations in Harare, Masvingo, Bulawayo and Mutare aimed at protesting against government plans to freeze workers’ wages.

The demos were scheduled for this Saturday.

Japhet Moyo, ZCTU secretary-general, confirmed the police proscription, but said they have since approached the High Court seeking to reverse the ban.

“We have received two written responses from Masvingo and Bulawayo informing us that the demonstrations are not sanctioned,” Moyo said.

“In Mutare, we had a verbal response notifying us of the ban, while in Harare they did not entertain our notification.”

Moyo said the police cited security reasons, stating that there were some “hooligans” planning to hijack the workers’ demo.

Masvingo Central District acting commanding officer, superintendent Philip Ncube, said in an April 2 letter addressed to ZCTU southern region officer, Elliot Muposhi, that officers would be seized with preparations for independence celebrations scheduled for April 18.

“I refer to your notice dated 20/03/15 in which you intended to hold a demonstration against the Reserve Bank governor of Zimbabwe and the commissioner general of Zimra’s utterance on wage freezes and no increment of salaries, against labour market flexibility and the general collapse of the economy on April 11, 2015,” Supt Ncube’s letter says.

“Police will be engaged in independence deployments hence there is no manpower to cover the event, therefore authority has not been granted due to security reasons.”

Moyo, however, vowed that the demonstrations would go ahead despite efforts by the police to stop them.

“The preparations for the demonstrations are progressing well regardless of the negative responses from both state media and the police,” Moyo said.

“However, as a precautionary measure, we have approached the High Court for an interdict. Demonstrations are going ahead as planned.”

ZCTU’s lawyer, Jerimiah Bamu of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, has been tasked with handling the court application.

“The application will most likely be heard this week,” Bamu said.

“We have so far effected service in Harare and sent copies of the application by courier to the different regions.

“My anticipation is that it will be received by our correspondent lawyers as soon as possible and they will effect service and send us their certificates of service.”

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