WINDHOEK- The Southern Africa Trade Union Co-ordination Council (SATUCC) has written a letter to President Hage Geingob in his capacity as chairperson of Sadc to urgently intervene in what the council said were deteriorating human rights violations in Zimbabwe.
This call comes after a week of turmoil in which Zimbabweans protested dramatic fuel price hikes, followed by an alleged hard-handed crackdown by government security forces in which 12 people were killed.
Despite media reports that Zimbabwe’s capital is returning to normal as of Monday this week, SATUCC, which represents 22 affiliates with a combined membership of over 5.4million workers in 14 Sadc countries, said it is receiving reports from the ground that the military have continued to maintain a high presence in residential areas across the country, harassing and torturing civilians.
SATUCC Executive Secretary Austin Muneku said the unionists are gravely concerned that the brutality and harassment against the citizens is being perpetrated by state security forces (police and military) with impunity.
SATUCC strongly appealed to Geingob, through the relevant Sadc structures, to prevail on the government of Zimbabwe to stop the violation of human rights. Furthermore, Muneku said SATUCC urged Geingob to ask Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa to order the military to stop the brutality and harassment of citizens and withdraw them from the communities.
At the same time, Muneku noted the police must equally stop brutality and harassment of citizens and observe the rule of law and ensure the safety of citizens. “Your Excellency this development in Zimbabwe is not acceptable and clearly constitutes crimes against humanity. Your Excellency, this is not asking too much but rather to reaffirm our strong belief that Sadc member states shall act in accordance with the principles as provided in Article 4 of the Sadc Treaty,” he remarked. SATUCC views the continued brutality and harassment on Zimbabwe citizens as causing untold suffering and has resulted in the death of innocent citizens in some recorded cases.
Muneku said they 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 said they are closely monitoring the situation and are assured that the world is watching what is unfolding in Zimbabwe.
Media reports reveal most shops and businesses have reopened, although many people are stocking up on food items in case the country faces further unrest. Mnangagwa was expected to return to the country late Monday, after announcing on Sunday that he will skip attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He is in Kazakhstan, after visiting Russia last week.
Mnangagwa had been under growing pressure to return from a two-week overseas visit as accounts emerged of abuses by security forces, including dozens of people wounded by gunfire and others hunted down in their homes and severely beaten. Zimbabwe has seen days of unrest since Mnangagwa made an announcement more than doubling fuel prices that made the struggling country’s gasoline the most expensive in the world.
Zimbabwe’s courts were on Monday to hear two cases related to the government’s alleged ongoing clampdown on dissent. The High Court will hear a challenge to the government’s suspension of internet services. Although internet service has been restored after a nearly week-long blackout, social media outlets such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter are still jammed. The government has said its action is to prevent Zimbabweans from organising violent protests.
2019-01-23 09:01:31 25 days ago