SATUCC Statement on Zimbabwe Government’s Brutality Against Its Own Citizens.
Monday, January 21st, 2019
The Southern African Trade Union Coordination Council (SATUCC) representing 22 major federations in 14 of the 16 Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) member states with a combined membership of about 6 million working men and women, extends solidarity with the workers and citizens of Zimbabwe who from last week, went on a national stay away and protests in the streets against the increase in fuel prices.
While we bemoan the violence that erupted thereafter leading to injuries and deaths of people, we also strongly condemn the Government of Zimbabwe’s brutal response towards the armless and defenseless protesters. We particularly condemn the unleashing of the military by the Government of Zimbabwe on the citizens who were essentially exercising their right to express themselves.
We are receiving reports from the ground that over the past weekend, the military continued to maintain a high presence in residential locations across the country, harassing and torturing civilians.
We are also informed that a number of trade union leaders and workers, opposition politicians and activists are being targeted for arrests for allegedly inciting public violence while some are already in detention.
SATUCC together with the international community joined the citizens of Zimbabwe to welcome the resignation of President Robert Mugabe in November 2017 with the hope that the era of gross human rights violations which characterized the Mugabe’s regime, had finally come to an end.
However, SATUCC remained skeptical about this change because the very system of terror that maintained the President Mugabe reign, remained intact as President Mnangagwa took over following the disputed July 2018 elections. The current developments taking place in Zimbabwe at the moment therefore confirm our skepticism.
We urge the Government of Zimbabwe to hear the demands by citizens which were the grounds for the stay away and the protests, consider those demands and respond accordingly with restraint.
Furthermore, we urge the government to stop immediately the brutality and harassment on the citizens in their respective residential locations and elsewhere.
It is unacceptable for a government that claims to have been elected by the people to wage a war against the very same people who are unarmed as it is happening currently in Zimbabwe. This in our assessment, tantamount to crimes against humanity.
We also demand the immediate release of all trade unionists, workers, activists, ordinary citizens, opposition politicians who are reported to have been rounded up from their homes and the streets and detained following the stay away and protests of last week.
Austin C. Muneku
21st January 2019, Gaborone, Botswana.