View Full Version : Fears for trade union members following Zimbabwe protest arrests

11-09-2005, 01:41 PM
Harare - On the corner of two streets named after Southern African heroes, most of the leadership of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and about 200 peaceful demonstrators, many of them women, were arrested yesterday.
The Star (South Afirca) (http://www.thestar.co.za/index.php?fSectionId=132&fArticleId=2986801)

South African trade union federation Cosatu says up to 200 people were arrested.

Several ZCTU leaders were still at large yesterday and fears have been expressed about the safety of four executive members taken into custody by the army.

Mlamleli Sibanda, Last Tarabuku, Tabita Khumalo and Leonard Ngwenzi were last seen being dragged from a ZCTU minibus by soldiers at a roadblock in central Harare shortly before 1pm

Cosatu has called for solidarity with the workers and the poor of Zimbabwe.

It asked for President Robert Mugabe to intervene and ensure the immediate release of those arrested and for the scrapping of the draconian Public Order Security Act, which it said would soon allow only cabinet ministers to gather.

"Reports we have now is that at least 200 people have been arrested in Harare alone," Cosatu said.

The anti-poverty march began at the corner of Nelson Mandela and Leopold Takawira streets on the western edge of the city centre, with songs about poverty and placards against "zhing-zhong", which is Zimbabwe slang for poor-quality Chinese goods.

Within 10 minutes, scores of well-equipped riot police moved in and ended the march.

The singing protesters were told to climb into a large lorry and a bakkie and were taken off to Harare Central police station.
Police cordoned off Leopold Takawaria Street, named after one
of the founders of the ruling Zanu-PF, diverted the traffic, kept their dogs on their leashes, and without much fuss ended the demonstration almost as quickly as it began, watched by hundreds of bystanders.

On Monday night, two Bulawayo ZCTU officials were arrested, and at dawn a third was picked up there.

ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo and secretary-general Wellington Chibebe were arrested in the city centre while walking to the point where the march started.

11-09-2005, 01:42 PM
Got this on the Marxism mailing list:

Subject: Zimbabwean arrests


This is an update following yesterdays arrests.

115 demonstrators have been arrested and 3 of them are ISO members. They are
still detained at Harare Central Police Station and no charges have been
brought against them.Some of them were moved to another police station last
night. We are trying to find out where - one of three police stations
south-east of Harare.

Some of those arrested include:

Lovemore Matombo - ZCTU President
Wellington Chibhebhe - ZCTU Secretary General
Netsai Dzinoreva - NOC Member Zimbabwe Social Forum
John Bomba - National Co-ordinator ISO
Aaron Dhliwayo - Harare Branch Co-Ordinator ISO
Munyaradzi Gwisai - National Co-Ordinator ISO
Canwell Muchadya - President ZGAWU (Printing Union)
Regis Mututu - Chairperson Zimbabwe Social Forum
Rita Nyamupinga - NOC member Zimbabwe Social Forum.

You can make protest calls to Harare Central Police Station. The numbers are
+263-4-777777, +263-4-721212, +263-4-736931, +263-4-725803. Fax

We are also asking comrades to stage protests outside Zimbabwean embassies,
where possible, in your area.

We will update you as we get more information.

Ashley Fataar

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Subject: ZCTU Update
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2005 11:11:31 -0800

The 120-ZCTU activists including Wellington Chibebe and Lovemore Matombo
the ZCTU President are still in Police custody but have all been transfered
to Chitungwiza 25 Kilometres outside Harare. Reports we have received but
not yet verified indicate that Wellington Chibebe and a few others were
tortured last night. The Police have not given any reasons for transferering
the activists to Chitungwiza.

Among the people arrested are about 20 people living with HIV/AIDS who can
not assess treatment at the moment and five women with babies and other
disabled people. This situation is particularly worrying as we now fear that
there might be some fatalities because of the conditions these people are



Mass arrests of Trade Unionists in Zimbabwe 9/11/2005

Brussels, 8 November 2005 (ICFTU OnLine): The ICFTU has condemned the
actions of the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe following the arrests today of
hundreds of workers, including leaders of the ICFTU-affiliated Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and of ZCTU member organisations. Large
numbers of police have swamped the streets of Harare, reacting to mass
public demonstrations against poverty and hunger caused by the government's
catastrophic policies. At least three other trade union leaders are reported
to have been arrested in the city of Bulawayo on Monday evening.

"Zimbabwean workers have been forced once again to take to the streets
to protest at the Mugabe government's policies, which have led to a dramatic
deterioration of living standards and widespread hunger. The heavy-handed
response of the authorities, coupled with their ongoing violations of
fundamental workers' rights, show once again a blatant disregard for working
people and their families", said ICFTU General Secretary Guy Ryder. "We call
upon the government to immediately release all those detained, and to
respect the rights of working people as enshrined in international law" he

Today's arrests are the latest in a catalogue of anti-union repression
in Zimbabwe, amidst a worsening economic crisis and growing unrest amongst
the many victims of the government's policies. The ICFTU and its Global
Unions partners are closely monitoring the situation, and will keep up the
pressure for the full recognition of workers' rights at the International
Labour Organisation and in other international bodies.

The ICFTU represents 145 million workers through its 234 affiliated
organisations in 154 countries and territories – www.icftu.org (http://www.icftu.org/)

The ICFTU is also a member of Global Unions:
http://www.global-unions.org (http://www.global-unions.org/)

For more information, please contact the ICFTU Press Department on +32
2 224 0210.

11-10-2005, 11:39 AM
Zimbabwe: Trade Unionists Remain Behind Bars


The top leadership of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) were still in prison on Wednesday after being arrested ahead of an anti-poverty march in the capital, Harare. ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo, secretary-general Wellington Chibebe and some 100 members were arrested on Tuesday as they were preparing to take part in what the police deemed an illegal demonstration to highlight growing unemployment and the rocketing cost of living.

Lucia Matibenga, a senior ZCTU official, told IRIN she was unable to comment on the labour federation's next move, as it was "operating in an uncertain terrain".

The ZCTU march followed protests at the weekend by the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a pro-democracy civic alliance.

The official Herald newspaper on Wednesday described the series of demonstrations as an attempt by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the NCA and the ZCTU to incite "people to go into the streets to kick-start a Ukrainian-style 'Orange Revolution'".

Munyaradzi Bidi, executive director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association, commented that against the backdrop of "an economic meltdown, the government's decision to call for the election of a senate on November 26 has angered the people - they feel they have not been adequately consulted".

"People have also not recovered from the impact of Operation Murambatsvina, in which flea markets were destroyed and thousands of people lost employment in the informal sector," he pointed out.

A UN report estimated that Operation Murambatsvina - which the government said was aimed at clearing slums and flushing out criminals - had left more than 700,000 people homeless or without a livelihood after it began in mid-May.

According to the Herald, the ZCTU unionists were charged with participating in an illegal demonstration "or, alternatively, under the Miscellaneous Offences Act for obstructing movement of traffic".

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe economic crisis and facing serious food shortages due to recurring droughts and the government's fast-track land redistribution programme, which disrupted agricultural production and slashed export earnings

The country has been described as having one of the fastest-shrinking economies in the world, with unemployment at 80 percent.

11-11-2005, 03:54 PM
ZCTU and NCA activists and leaders released
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news (http://www.swradioafrica.com/news111105/ztcu&nca101105.htm)
12 November 2005

Police have released without charge all the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions demonstrators, who were arrested in Harare on Tuesday during a procession against poverty.

ZCTU spokesman Mlamleli Sibanda said all 118 activists including the president Lovemore Matombo and secretary-general Wellington Chibhebhe were released after intense negotiations with the Attorney General's (AG) office.

The AG said the police did not have a strong case and that police will have to proceed by way of summons in the event they get new evidence against the accused.

Meanwhile, NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku and Misheck Shoko the mayor of Chitungwiza were released from police custody last night. A defiant Madhuku said it is high time authorities in the country realised that intimidation is no longer working to keep them quiet.

‘We have since crossed that boundary where we get intimidated easily. That practice is no longer working and the authorities know it. Whatever tactics they come up with, that will not stop us from pursuing our struggle for a new constitution,’ said Madhuku.

The mayor of Chitungwiza said he was arrested for addressing a meeting where he was outlining government’s concerns in providing water to people in his town.

Police wanted to charge him for a crime under a section of the criminal procedure and evidence act. If convicted, it is punishable by a death sentence. This suggestion by the police was thrown out by the attorney- general.