Police to clamp down on ZCTU demo

Home Affairs minister Cain Mathema has warned that police will be out in full force today to thwart any attempts by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to demonstrate against the worsening economic crisis in the country.

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

Addressing journalists after touring the country’s central registry headquarters yesterday, Mathema said while it was everyone’s democratic right to demonstrate, that right must be exercised within the limits of the law.

“We hear that there are some who want to demonstrate against what they say are an untenable economic situation in the country. Let me say that our President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) is a peace-loving person. We are a law-abiding government and so is our President,” he said.

“If people go against the law and go to demonstrate, they must know that our law will deal with them harshly. We don’t want law breakers. We don’t want people who break our peace.”

ZCTU has pencilled demonstrations across the country to protest against the two cents per dollar transactional tax announced by government last week and triggered price hikes by retailers and suppliers, disappearance of some basic goods, while some companies closed shop.

The labour body yesterday vowed to go ahead with today’s protests despite the police banning it on account of fears of a fresh cholera outbreak.

ZCTU secretary-general Japhet Moyo said the labour group would not be stopped by the police to demonstrate against what he termed “economic sabotage”.

“We are going ahead as planned. We have instructed our lawyers to challenge (the police ban). We are very confident that we are going to exercise our rights as citizens and the police cannot determine or infringe on those rights like that,” Moyo said.

Meanwhile, Mathema said his ministry was working on decentralising production of passports in order to clear a huge backlog of up to six months.

“I have discussed this with the Registrar-General, who has assured me that there is now a work plan in place to clear the backlog within the shortest possible time and bring passport production to within normal timelines,” Mathema said.