Home » Judicial » Police in Violent Disruption of May Day Event

HEAVILY armed police on Thursday violently disrupted a May-Day celebration organised by a faction of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) headed by Lovemore Matombo.

Matombo, an ex-president of the united ZCTU, leads the ZCTU-Concerned Affiliates and slammed the police action as nothing but “a political hand”.

Police, according to Matombo, claimed the venue (Harare Gardens) was booked for the Harare International Festival of Arts (HIFA). But Matombo charged that the HIFA claim was a sideshow.

“The HIFA thing was an afterthought, a sideshow to hoodwink workers. But we are cleverer than that,” he said.

“It is harassment of the highest order and an indication of how low our government wants to go in its quest to destroy the country’s labour movement.

“The police argued that the May-Day celebrations should be held in Gwanzura and nowhere else”.

The rival faction headed by George Nkiwane held its celebrations at Gwanzura Stadium and Matombo said he had tried to reason with police over politicisation of workers gatherings.

“I tried to reason with them that we did not want our gatherings turned into political rallies and addressed by politicians but they would have none of it. It is that bad, the rights of workers although enshrined in the constitution have

The ZCTU broke into two three years ago following a nasty leadership fight ahead of the MDC-T congress in 2011.

Harare police chief, Newbert Saunyama, wrote to the Concerned Affiliates’s Raymond Majongwe notifying him of the ban on the basis of the international arts festival.

“We have always held our celebrations along with HIFA have never had any problems,” charged Matombo.

Tatenda Mombeyarara a Human Rights lawyers slammed the police heavy-handedness.

“The letter said that the venue was booked for HIFA and I do not know when the police have started venturing into city council’s business. The way Harare Gardens is structured enables people to hold multiple functions without any problem.

“The government is out to silence our voice. As you know, this is not the first time we have encountered such problems and such action should never be allowed in a constitutional democracy,” Mombeyarara said.

Source : New Zimbabwe