THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has distanced itself from a national shutdown called by some pressure groups to force President Emmerson Mnangagwa to address the deteriorating economic situation in the country.
According to Tajamuka spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi, the shutdown is set to start today and will end on Friday with a march to State House on July 6 if demands tabled before Mnangagwa were not acted upon.
But ZCTU president Peter Mutasa yesterday said his organisation was not part of the shutdown and would meet during the course of this week to map a way forward.
“The ZCTU is not part of the group that has called for tomorrow (today)’s shutdown. As a membership-based organisation, we have to consult and get a mandate from our members in terms of our constitution and processes,” Mutasa said.
“Our decision-making body, the general council, will be meeting this week to decide and announce the way forward, based on views from the workers. We are never against any citizen or groups that advocate for peaceful protests in terms of the Constitution of the country.
“However, unlike other groups, as a membership-driven organisation, ZCTU leaders can not commit the organisation without consultations and an inclusive decision. It is in this vein that we view the inclusion of our organisation or any other organisation’s name without our consent and without discussing with us as problematic. For unions, this creates divisions as some members would genuinely complain that leaders are making unilateral decisions.”
In January, the ZCTU led a nationwide protest that turned violent with security agents killing 17 people in brutally crushing the protests.
But Tajamuka/Sesijikile yesterday maintained it was going ahead with the week-long shutdown, starting from today until Friday.
“The shutdown is to pressure Mnangagwa to resolve the economic situation in the country,” Mkwananzi said.
“Mnangagwa has two choices, (either) to resign and allow Zimbabwe to move forward or to convene an all-inclusive dialogue, encompassing all Zimbabweans with an independent mediator. If Mnangagwa does not respect the orders, the people of Zimbabwe will have no choice, but to come out of their houses on July 6 and march to State House in Harare. For other cities, we will advise where to assemble.”
He said the protest would be peaceful.
Zimbabwe is in the throes of an economic crisis characterised by fuel and power shortages and rising inflation.
The shortage of foreign currency and pressure from its restive workers last week forced the government to dump the decade-old multi-currency system and bring back the Zimbabwe dollar.
Meanwhile, the International Cross-Border Traders’ Association (ICTA) has warned travellers and transporters to be cautious when travelling to and from Zimbabwe this week because of the shutdown.
ICTA president Denis Juru urged travellers and transporters to stay at home in order to remain safe.
“We would like to advise all travellers and transporters to be cautious when travelling to and from Zimbabwe as there would be an industrial action planned by pressure groups.
“The stay away called for by Tajamuka and it is affiliates is expected to kick-off on July 1 until further notice,” he said.
Juru said ICTA would assess the situation and advise travellers whether it was safe or not to travel.
“In the past events, we witnessed stay-aways turning into violent protests in Zimbabwe with people being shot by security forces, cars being burnt and shops being looted.
“The most dangerous border posts to use are Beitbridge Border Post, Plumtree Border Post, Chirundu Border Post and Forbes Border Post,” he added.