On 14 March 2007, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) condemned the continued harassment of Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) leaders and assault of its staff by the members of the security forces particularly the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
The statement was issued after 7 ZRP officers led by Assistant Inspector Chimimba on 13 March 2007 stormed into ZCTU offices with a search warrant allowing them to search for & seize all “subversive materials” found on the premises, as President Robert Mugabe came heavy on voices of dissent.
ZLHR also condemned the assault of ZCTU officers Gilbert Marembo and Michael Kandukuti by ZRP with open palms across their faces.
However, when ZLHR lawyers questioned the 2 about the assault they were threatened with home visits by ZRP who warned them not to show off in the presence of their lawyers.
ZLHR lawyers, who attended at ZCTU offices, found the ZRP officers going through the offices of the ZCTU, having detained ZCTU staff & visitors inside the offices. Four boxes containing some ZCTU fliers had already been seized.
The fliers highlighted that workers were being subjected to a minimum wage of Z$90 000/month compared to the astronomical PDL of Z$668 000. The flier further highlighted the non-availability & inaccessibility of ARVs for workers, yet AIDS levy contributions are deducted from them.
ZCTU in its capacity as a legitimate body had called for a “STAY AT HOME” action from 3-4 April 2007. ZLHR said it believes that it is the right & duty of ZCTU to represent concerns of its members & workers & help express such concerns in a peaceful manner, including stay-aways.
ZLHR expressed dismay for such a right to be violated, restricted, frustrated & undermined by wide & vague laws allowing for the State to unilaterally seize & view fliers as “subversive materials” is not reasonably justifiable in a democracy.