Trade union urged Namibia president and SADC chair to act on Zimbabwe

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By The Namibian

NAMIBIA’S Trade Union Congress has urged president Hage Geingob to use his “authority and power” as SADC chairperson to intervene in the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe.

TUC secretary general Mahongoro Kavihuha said Geingob should, as chairperson, be able to do something regarding the situation in Zimbabwe, adding that it was “discouraging and astonishing” that Geingob was still quiet on the matter.

“The crisis in Zimbabwe started more or less at [the same time of the] election in the DRC. He was eager to talk about the DRC, but when it comes to Zimbabwe, until this stage he is quiet,” he said.

Kavihuha said there were attacks on trade unionists in Zimbabwe, pointing to the recent arrest of the secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), Japhet Moyo, two weeks ago.

“Today, we learned that the vice president of ZCTU was arrested, and many more trade union leaders have been arrested and tortured, including citizens,” he added.

Moyo was seized at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport as he returned from China, precisely a week after the ZCTU called for a stay-at-home strike to protest a “provocative” 150% fuel price increase.

He faced charges of plotting to overthrow the government, his lawyer said, while the organisation’s president Peter Mutasa was in hiding.

Kavihuha said Geingob should work with his Zimbabwean counterpart to address the matter as an emergency.

“We are aware that the liberation movements are in cahoots regarding oppressing people’s rights and people’s feelings, but I hope that our president will show some degree of being a responsible leader, and call upon his counterpart in Zanu-PF to at least respect human rights,” he stressed.

The executive director of international relations, Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, last week said Zambia was the SADC chairperson of the organ on politics, defence and security, before referring all questions to international relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, who could not be reached for comment. 

Similarly, State House press secretary Alfredo Hengari recently referred all SADC-related questions to the secretariat office in Botswana.