Roman Catholic linked workers group confronts ED over crashed ZCTU demo, arrests

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By Alois Vinga

ROMAN Catholic linked Italian Confederation of Trade Unions (CISL) has written to President Emmerson Mnangagwa expressing displeasure over the arrest of some Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) leaders and activists during a demonstration that was crashed by police a week ago.

The worker based international group urged the President to institute an investigation into the “excessive and undue violence” that took place.

“I write on behalf of CISL, representing 4, 5 millions of affiliates to denounce the blocking of the peaceful demonstration organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the subsequent arrest of leaders of ZCTU.

“The peaceful demonstration of the ZCTU is against recently announced economic measures, which will increase the number of already burdened workers of Zimbabwe and their families,” wrote CISL’s Giuseppe Iuliano in a letter addressed to Mnangagwa.

The letter, dated October 15, 2018, was also copied to the permanent mission of Zimbabwe in Geneva and the country’s ambassador to Italy, Godfrey Magwenzi.

Police Thursday last week seized ZCTU leaders and activists after they had vowed to proceed with a banned demonstration to express displeasure over government’s 2 percent tax imposed on all electronic transfers by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube recently.

Of the 35 initially arrested in Harare, Mutare and Masvingo, seven were detained and were released on $50 bail each after spending two nights in police custody.

They are being charged for allegedly organising public violence and are set for trial.

Following the developments in Zimbabwe, CISL condemned the harassment against trade union members when they were making legitimate demands through peaceful protests.

The Catholics dominated union also called on government to protect citizens’ freedom of association and create a violence free environment.

“In targeting the ZCTU for violence and oppression, the government has not only breached article 59 of its Constitution but also the provisions of ILO Convention No 87 on Freedom of Association that it is bound by.