ZCTU defiant, members to proceed with demonstration

ZCTU defiant, members to proceed with demonstration
Published: 01 July 2019
THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) yesterday said its members will proceed with their demonstration if government does not revert back to the multi-currency regime, but President Emmerson Mnangagwa's administration has warned of sterner action against those who violate the law.

Last week, ZCTU leaders gave Mnangagwa's government up to tomorrow to reverse Statutory Instrument (SI) 142 of 2019, saying their members would take to the streets if the powers-that-be do not capitulate.

Through SI 142 of 2019, government abandoned the multi-currency system, effective June 24, 2019.

Effective from that date, electronic transactions, bond notes and coins became the only legitimate forms of money that can be solely used in Zimbabwe.

A defiant ZCTU president Peter Mutasa told the Daily News yesterday that confrontation is the only option left to deal with Mnangagwa's regime.

He said his leadership was prepared to lay their lives in pursuit of legitimate concerns from the workers.

"Trade union leaders are not safe currently considering the arrests and reported abductions. I don't feel secure also but what can I do? Our lives are in the hands of the Lord, He decides whether I live or not," said Mutasa.

"Zimbabwe is the only country we have and we are carrying out a legitimate function that is provided for at law. Strikes are also guaranteed in the Constitution."

The ZCTU boss said workers are currently starving because their salaries cannot catch up with the increase in the cost of living while others are dying at home without medical care.

He also bemoaned pensions which are being wiped out by inflation, for the second time in a decade, adding that many of their members cannot afford skyrocketing school fees and rentals.

"The workers' struggle and demands are legitimate and any responsible government would not brutalise citizens for demanding food," said Mutasa.

Government issued a stern warning yesterday to anyone who wants to demonstrate, saying the police would call in the military in the event that the protests spiral out of control.

Defence deputy minister Victor Matemadanda said they cannot be lectured about democracy and constitutionalism by "small boys".

"We cannot be voted into power and be removed by people who burn tyres. You think I will go to my rural home, Gokwe, just because someone is burning tyres; I will never do that.

"We were elected to protect the interests of our people and we can't allow our people to be abused by the so-called demonstrators," Matemadanda, who is also Zanu-PF's national political commissar, said yesterday.

"ZCTU were benefiting from multi-currency because they were getting their funds in US dollars. ZCTU doesn't represent workers but it's now working to advance political interests," he added.

Matemadanda said the responsibility of security institutions is to maintain peace.

He said while the police use minimum force to maintain order soldiers are a different kettle of fish because "they are not trained to use minimum force".

"Those who want to demonstrate, it's their constitutional right but they must not be violent because if the situation demands that the police call in soldiers you must know that they can't use minimum force. It's also their constitutional right. If they think they will come straight from demonstration to State House they will never live to see another day," he said.

Police commissioner-general Godwin Matanga told the Daily News yesterday that there is need to educate people to embrace the new policy measures as they are good for the country.

"We are happy as police that finally we have our own currency. I think what is needed now is to have an awareness (campaign) to educate our people on the advantages of having our own currency," Matanga said.

Currently the country is again hanging precariously on the edge of a precipice - authorities have repeatedly warned that they would descend mercilessly on anyone who pushes for violent demonstrations.

High ranking Zanu-PF and government officials have alleged that there is a plot to unseat Mnangagwa with the security apparatus presently on high alert in anticipation of possible violent riots.

A number of civil organisations have threatened to demonstrate, a pressure group - #Tajamuka has called for all Zimbabweans to stay at home starting today.

"Shutdown is on from the 1st of July (today) onwards until ED and his government gives us seriousness. This is a direct citizen action for citizens by citizens. We have had enough and are sick and tired now. Mnangagwa and his entire criminal and corrupt government must go," #Tajamuka spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi told the Daily News.

"We are urging all citizens to stay at home peacefully and demand that the government must fix the economic plight that is bedevilling everyone."

- dailynews
Tags: ZCTU,


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