BY MOSES MATENGA
ZIMBABWE has been red-flagged as one of the world’s 10 worst countries regarding workers’ welfare. Violations of workers’ rights, including abductions and other forms of violence and threats of harm, are cited.
According to the International Trade Union Confederation’s documentation of violations of workers’ rights, Zimbabwe joined the bad boys’ club including Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Colombia, Egypt, Honduras, Kazakhstan, the Philippines and Turkey where workers’ rights were brazenly violated.
“In the aftermath of the violent attacks against workers during the general strikes organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) in October 2018 and January 2019, Zimbabwe continued its crackdown against trade unions,” the report said.
“Twenty-eight ZCTU members still faced criminal charges after their arrest over a year ago. If convicted, they could be sentenced to a mandatory 10-year jail term. ZCTU president Peter Mutasa and general secretary Japhet Moyo, both of whom had been arrested and charged with subversion, were released in February 2019, but they remained under strict release conditions, banned from travelling and forced to check in regularly at the police station.”
The report said Mutasa and Moyo also received anonymous letters with death threats and bullets inside.
“Furthermore, both leaders received anonymous letters containing death threats and bullets. The letters warned them against continuing with the planned strike action on 22 July 2019 and threatened to kill the two and harm their families,” it said.
The letters said: “We have hired mercenaries to deal with you once and for all – unless you stop what you are planning.”
Moyo, the report said, also received further threatening letters, with one of them containing a threat to rape his daughter.
The report also noted the harassment and abduction of the then president of Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association, Peter Magombeyi who was kidnapped in 2019 by three unidentified men, and for days his whereabouts were not known.
“Before his kidnapping, he had received a message from an unknown source which contained death threats. For years, Dr Magombeyi has been at the forefront in fighting for better working conditions for all doctors in the country. He was eventually released and left outside Harare.”
“Earlier in the year, on 5 June 2019, Obert Masaraure, the president of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, was abducted at his house,” the report said.
Most violated rights by the named countries, according to the report, included the right to strike which was criminalised.
The right to civil liberties, the report said, was also violated with arbitrary arrests, detention and imprisonment.
The ruling Zanu PF government has threatened all workers intending to go on strike labelling them opposition allies.