UNI Global Union condemns in the strongest terms the labelling of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) as a terrorist organization and demands an end to the persecution of trade unionists and activists in Zimbabwe.
ZCTU was branded a terrorist organization by Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa last week, along with main opposition party, the MDC Alliance.
As the President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangawa, vows to ‘flush out’ opponents in the country, UNI calls on the government to guarantee the safety and freedom of trade union leaders and activists, including ZCTU President, Peter Mutasa.
Mutasa, who is also General Secretary of UNI affiliate, the Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union, has been forced to go into hiding after being included in a ‘wanted’ list of opponents by the government.
Only recently, security agents visited Mr Mutasa’s home, slashed his car tyres and attempted to abduct a member of his family.
Scores of trade unionists, activists and opposition members have reportedly been arrested, abducted and mistreated by security forces as the government attempts to crush protests against its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, the dire state of the economy, and widespread corruption.
UNI is also alarmed that the government is using emergency decrees to fight the Covid-19 pandemic as a pretext to crackdown on civil liberties, including the right to freedom of association, expression and peaceful assembly.
“UNI Africa is extremely concerned for the safety of trade union leaders and activists in Zimbabwe, and particularly Peter Mutasa as a member of UNI and president of ZCTU. We call on the government to allow trade unionists to carry out their work free from fear and interference and to cease the needless and brutal repression of its citizens,” said Keith Jacobs, UNI Africa Regional Secretary.
UNI calls for the immediate release of all political opponents and activists in Zimbabwe, and demands that the government retracts its labelling of the ZCTU.
UNI General Secretary, Christy Hoffman, says:
“Calling ZCTU a terrorist organization is farcical, desperate and dangerous. As the government attempts to silence and arrest anyone who dares to voice opposition, it is yet another sickening blow to human rights in Zimbabwe. We demand an immediate return to the fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly. Zimbabwe has a struggle on its hands, but it is not with its own people.”