By Alois Vinga
ZIMBABWE Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president, Peter Mutasa has gone into hiding after being linked to week’s violent anti-government protests that left three dead and a trail of destruction countrywide.
Suspected state security agents Tuesday raided Mutasa’s Harare home and beat up his 19-year-old brother who had professed ignorance over the trade unionist’s whereabouts, the ZCTU has said.
Mutasa is accused of recording and circulating a video calling on Zimbabweans to stay away from work starting on Monday in protest over a government decision to hike fuel prices by more than double, coupled with worsening poverty levels among locals.
His co-accused, Pastor Evan Mawarire has since been arrested and taken to court facing treason charges.
ZCTU’s information officer, Last Tarabuku said Thursday state agents invaded his boss’s Dzivarasekwa home, beat up his brother and also damaged some household property.
“The home of our president, Peter Mutasa was attacked on Tuesday night by suspected Central Intelligence Organisation officials and property worth thousands of dollars was destroyed in the process.
“His brother, who was the only person at home, was seriously beaten and sustained deep injuries which have made it impossible for him sit properly,” he said.
The four assailants are said to have been driving Isuku KBs and are said to have smashed windows and shown their torches into the house in search of the trade union leader.
Mutasa’s phone continuously went unanswered when NewZimbabwe.com made attempts to reach him.
This week’s national protests caught all and sundry by surprise as angry citizens invaded the streets to register their displeasure over government’s apparent failure to contain the current economic turmoil that has seen prices triple inside three months while wages have remained suppressed.
For the first time since the ZCTU organised stayaways of the late 1990s, there was a complete shutdown of the country with government workers also part of the action, voluntarily or otherwise.
The Zanu PF led government has come out guns blazing, accusing the opposition MDC of attempts to foment an uprising against it.
Top politician and former Minister Paul Mangwana also accused the country’s labour group of abandoning its mandate of representing the interests of workers to dabble in politics in support of the opposition.
“ZCTU has taken a political position and are aligned to the opposition party MDC-Alliance,” Mangwana said this week.
Mutasa has maintained the country’s main labour group had a right to urge locals to express their displeasure through peaceful means.
“This is a constitutional right that anyone should be allowed to exercise and the police must just play their role by maintaining law and order,” Mutasa has said in earlier interviews.
“Again the cause of the disgruntlement is government’s pronouncement of fuel price increases and this must be resolved to end the disgruntlement.”