The ITUC has strongly condemned the arrest of ZCTU President Lovemore Matombo and four members of his staff, Michael Kandukutu, Dumisani Ncube, Nawu Ndlovu and Percy Mcijo, for exercising their legitimate trade union activity.
According to the information received by the ITUC from its affiliate the ZCTU (Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions), the five trade unionists were arrested in the Victoria Falls District last night when Matombo was addressing members of the ZCTU. This meeting was the first stop in a tour of the country to meet ZCTU structures. They are going to be charged with contravening POSA (The Public Order and Security Act) - holding a meeting without notifying the police.
This arrest clearly violates legitimate trade union rights protected under ILO Convention 87 on the right to freedom of association and the right to organise, ratified by the government of Zimbabwe. On 3 November, an attack on the house of a council member of the ZCTU, Gertrude Hambira, was also reported.
“The climate of intimidation and harassment that remains in Zimbabwe creates extremely bad conditions for the trade unionists to exercise their rights,” said Guy Ryder, ITUC general secretary. “We hoped that the creation of an inclusive government with a commitment to human rights reform would have made severe trade union repression a thing of the past, but this does not seem to be the case,” he added.
In a letter sent to the Zimbabwean authorities, the ITUC advises President Mugabe that the ILO Commission of Inquiry will be informed of the latest serious violations of ILO convention 87, and urges him to immediately release Lovemore Matombo, Michael Kandukutu and Percy Mcijo.