ZRP blocks workers anti-bond notes demonstration
By Simon Munyoro
HARARE_ THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), has blocked an anti-bond notes demonstration which was organised by workers.
The demonstration was organised by the country’s most influential labour federation – the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade unions (ZCTU).
The ZCTU demonstrations were scheduled for December 1, 2016 from 9h00 hrs to 13h 00 hrs across the country’s labour regional centers.
ZCTU decided to take it to the streets after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, governor, John Mangudya refused to climb down on bond notes when he was engaged by the ZCTU leadership a fortnight ago.
The ZCTU is arguing that even at best, the injection of US$200 million will not be able to address the liquidity problems facing the economy because the amount constitutes 3.4 percent of banking sector deposits of US$5.913 billion as at June 2016.
The union added that the US$75 million worth of bond notes introduced this week only amounts to 1.3 percent of banking sector deposits. Hence given its size, it will not fill the fiscal gap and restore the RTGS and Nostro balances misappropriated by government.
Irked by the government’s refusal to climb down on the bond notes agenda, the labour union had notified the ZRP of their intentions to stage a demonstration as provided by the laws of the country.
However, the ZRP has blocked the demonstration arguing that the move is illegal. In a letter dated November 28, 2016 undersigned by J.Chizemo – Chief Superintended Regulating Authority for Harare Central Police District, the labour union was barred from holding the demonstrations.
“We acknowledge that on the 25th November 2016 we received your notification letter to hold a demonstration. It has been noted that the intended demonstration is not to be held by a registered trade union for bona fide trade union purposes for the conduct of business in accordance with Labour Act (Chaper 28;01).
“In view of this realisation, exemption usually enjoyed by trade union terms in terms of section 26 A of the Public Order Security Act,” reads the letter in part.
The ZCTU said it was unfortunate that the police continued to disrespect workers constitutional rights to freedom of association, expression and demonstration as provided for under Section 58 and 59 of the Constitution.
Zakeyo Mutimutema, a ZCTU legal adviser, said the union will not hesitate to report the police actions to the United Nations as part of the Universal Periodic Review mechanism.
“We appeal to the police commissioner and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to ensure that trade union rights are respected. The negative publicity the country receives defeats the efforts to lure investors,” he said.
The International Labour Organisation has over the years warned government against its failure to respect freedoms of association and protection and the right by trade unions to organise in terms of Convention 87 of 1948.