By Alois Vinga
THE ZIMBABWE Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has bemoaned the manner in which the country’s defence forces continue to brutalise innocent citizens despite the nation having attained independence four decades ago.
The labour body said it was ironical that millions of Zimbabweans were looking back with nostalgia to bygone years of Ian Smith’s better economic conditions despite its oppressive and evil regime.
Smith was Prime Minister and last white ruler in the predecessor Rhodesian colonial regime which ended with Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980.
In a message to mark Zimbabwe’s 40th Heroes and Defence Forces commemorations, ZCTU secretary general, Japhet Moyo accused the country’s security forces of neglecting their responsibility of protecting innocent citizens.
“It is disheartening that some members of the defence forces are being implicated and used in the brutal oppression of the masses they are supposed to protect,” he said.
“We have seen civilians being shot at point blank range by members of the security forces for demonstrating against the government.”
The ZCTU leader said the commemorations came when the security forces have been accused of abducting and torturing citizens for planning to demonstrate against economic, social and political deterioration.
Moyo said the few security forces that are being abused to oppress the citizens were benefiting from the feeding trough.
“The few rogue elements are inflicting irreparable damage to our military and the country’s image. Let this holiday be a time of reflection for our leaders. The post November 17, 2017 has seen serious military miscalculations by our defence forces,” said Moyo.
He said more recently, the abductions and the July 31, 2020 clampdown on a planned demonstration against corruption flew in the face of the military and its disrespect for democracy.
The trade union boss added the commemorations come at a time when citizens have only gained political independence while all other freedoms and liberties such as economic freedom, the right to assembly and associate remain a mirage.
The majority of citizens, he said, are still under the shackles of socio-economic oppression as millions of workers and citizens are facing untold hardship.
“It is a shame and indeed a serious indictment for our leadership that people are looking back with nostalgia and fondness to the yesteryears of Ian Smith’s better economic conditions despite Smith’s oppressive and evil regime,” he said.
Moyo also bemoaned that most of the yesteryear’s heroes and heroines have turned against the people embracing and masterminding the vices they fought against during the liberation struggle.