Home » General » ZRP Blocks Peaceful Teachers’ Demo, PTUZ

TEACHERS’ groups are up in arms with police in Harare who, on Tuesday, virtually blocked a planned march by union members in commemoration of the Global Day of Action on the Right to Strike this Wednesday.

Conveners of the march, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), said police ambushed them with several unrealistic demands on the eve of the demo as a condition for the march to be cleared, putting paid to any prospects of proceeding with such protest.

“… it’s so sad that they have decided to set the bar too high for the march to take off,” the group said in an update circulated to union members via the PTUZ Facebook page.

PTUZ said police Officer Commanding Harare Central District, Chief Superintendent Newbert Saunyama summoned their leaders to his office where he initially tried to talk them against proceeding with the march.

After this fell through, Saunyama then asked the group to furnish the police with documented information on the number of participants who intended to join the march, the number of ushers and how these would be identifiable.

Police also demanded to know the route of the march, the number of vehicles to be used and what plans the organisers had in controlling the procession.

As if that was not enough, police also demanded a letter of acknowledgement from the ministry official who was going to receive the petition on behalf of the minister who was reportedly out of the country and went on to give them just 15 minutes to produce the letter.

“We were also informed that we should apply to the ZRP Traffic section and this application can only be attended to if it is accompanied by a letter from his office authorising the march,” said PTUZ.

“ZRP Traffic also requires at least 3 working days to process applications.”

Police, according to the group, were notified of the march as early as Tuesday last week but decided to respond on the eve of the march while making tough demands to the organisers of the protest.

The group added: “To us this is a clear way of denying us this opportunity to exercise our right by the police and in the same vein we reserve the right to inform the Education International (EI), International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Association of Non-Aligned Teachers Union of Southern Africa (ANTUSA), and others about this move.

“Meanwhile we are complying and see what happens next.”

PTUZ had intended to march from Harare Gardens on Wednesday to hand over a petition to the country’s labour minister, Prisca Mupfumira at her government offices at Mukwati building.

In an earlier post, the group was adamant they had a right under the country’s supreme law to stage peaceful street marches adding that they were doing this on behalf of the entire 500,000 g civil service.

“We should never be intimidated by any force or any group because these are pure labour matters and our demands are not borrowed, forced on to us nor are they being imported from outside Zimbabwe,” said the PTUZ.

“Comrades we have nothing to lose besides the chains on our necks. We encourage all other Unions to join in so that we speak with one voice and send our message loud and clear. After all it is our right to strike.

Zimbabwe’s political situation remains volatile with the authorities wary that crisis-weary citizens may take aantage of organised marches to stage an insurrection against President Robert Mugabe’s regime.

Source : New Zimbabwe