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Media Centre | COSATU Press Statements
Zimbabwe mass arrest
8 November 2005
Congress of South African Trade Unions has leant with utter shock and dismay the arrest of the entire leadership of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions by both the police and the army on the occasion of the demonstration against poverty in Harare today t he arrests include the president of the federation Lovemore Matombo as well the secretary general Wellington Chibebe as well as general civics movement leadership which had joined the protest against increasing inflation which robs workers and their famili es of their livelihoods.
In addition, the demonstrations that were held across Zimbabwe were meant to highlight the growing poverty and against 80% of unemployment that Zimbabwean has been enduring in the last five years and more. The demonstration was organised by the ZCTU agains t high price increase, high taxation levels, shortages of medical drugs, high transport costs and the general economic decay in the country.
The demonstration was organised by the ZCTU against high price increase, high taxation levels, shortages of medical drugs, high transport costs and the general economic decay in the country.
Official Inflation is currently at 360 percent while unemployment is pegged at 80 percent. Generally 80 percent of the population live in abject poverty and most households can no longer afford a decent meal a day. School fees are now beyond the reach of m any ordinary Zimbabweans.
Reports we have now is that at least two hundred people have been arrested in Harare alone and they are held at the Harare Central Police Station and hopefully they will appear in court tomorrow.
Those who participated in the demonstration included those from the informal economy who affected by Operation Murambatsvina.
The ZCTU has organised this demonstration to remind government and employers that workers in Zimbabwe including civil servants can no longer make ends meet.
COSATU once again notes the fact that these mass arrests occur at the time when Zimbabwean government is signatories to several International Labour Organisation (ILO) core conventions including the conventions on freedom of association and right of worker s to strike.
We also note that the Zimbabwean government has over time buried its head in the sand hoping the economic hardships of Zimbabwe will disappear.
COSATU call on all working people in South Africa and the world over, to intensify their solidarity with the workers and the poor in Zimbabwe. Accordingly, we call on the President Robert Mugabe to intervene in this deep crisis that is befalling our fellow trade unionists and ensure their immediate release.
Again we call on the government of Zimbabwe and the international community to put pressure on the government of Zimbabwe to abolish Public Order Security Act (POSA), which is increasingly making a mockery of Zimbabwean 'democracy's it does not allow anybo dy to have any freedom especially for the trade union movement which relies on meeting to have consultation with its members.
If the POSA is not scrapped, the situation is such that the only people that will be allowed to gather is the cabinet and any other government forums to the exclusion of any extra parliamentary organisations.