Mutasa says protests by ZCTU would be a grave mistake


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State Security Minister said planned protests by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions would be a “grave mistake” and security forces would not hesitate to “crush” the protestors.

The ZCTU had announced plans to lead processions in 35 cities and towns throughout the country on 13 September to protest against poor wages, high taxes, weak economic conditions, lack of access to HIV/Aids drugs and continuing harassment of civil society groups.

Despite the hype, labour leaders told United States embassy officials that only 1 000 people were likely to participate in the Harare marches and 3 000 nationwide.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 06HARARE1130, PREVIEW OF LABOR’S PLANS FOR NATIONWIDE

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

06HARARE1130

2006-09-12 14:21

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO0588

RR RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #1130/01 2551421

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 121421Z SEP 06

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0590

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 1312

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1162

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 1316

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0073

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0577

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0942

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1370

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3744

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1139

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1787

RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

RUFGNOA/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1533

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001130

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR S. HILL, M.HARPOLE

SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR M. COPSON AND E.LOKEN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/06/2016

TAGS: PHUM PREL PGOV ELAB ZI

SUBJECT: PREVIEW OF LABOR’S PLANS FOR NATIONWIDE

DEMONSTRATIONS SCHEDULED FOR SEPTEMBER 13.

 

REF: A. A) HARARE 0077

 

B. B) HARARE 1067

C. C) HARARE 1078

 

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires, a.i., Eric T. Schultz

for reasons 1.5 b/d

 

——-

Summary

——-

 

1. (C) The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) plans to

lead processions in 35 cities and towns throughout the

country on Wednesday, September 13 to protest against poor

wages, high taxes, weak economic conditions, lack of access

to HIV/AIDS drugs, and continuing harassment of civil society

groups. The government has responded with stern warnings

that security forces will crush any demonstrations and

preemptively arrested numerous civil society leaders and

students. Labor leaders are playing down expectations;

privately they are hoping for about 1000 participants in

Harare and 3000 nation-wide. The opposition Movement for

Democratic Change (MDC) has pledged its support but will not

formally participate. End Summary.

 

————————-

Taking It To The Streets

————————-

 

2. (U) The ZCTU announced plans last week for mass

demonstrations throughout the country to demand wages and

salaries linked to the Poverty Datum Line (PDL) (ref A); a

reduction in taxes; full availability and free access to

anti-retro virals (ARVs) to fight HIV/AIDS; and for the

police to stop harassing the informal sector workers. In

Harare plans call for the ZCTU leadership to lead a

procession through the city center to deliver a petition with

ZCTU demands to the Ministries of Labor and Finance, as well

as, the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ), a large

business association. In the other targeted cities and

towns, local labor delegates will lead demonstrators to

deliver petitions to the offices of the Chief Labor Relations

Officers.

 

———————————-

With a little help from my friends

———————————-

 

3. (U) ZCTU announced plans for the demonstration two weeks

ago, and has attempted to spread the word through the weekly

opposition Standard, and through affiliates throughout the

country. ZCTU also consulted with key civil society leaders.

Many of the most active civil society groups, including the

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, the National Constitutional

Assembly (NCA), and Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), have

voiced their support for the ZCTU protest. The MDC has

pledged its public support but has stated it will not

officially participate. ZCTU leaders have told us they hope

for about 1000 participants in Harare and about 3000

nation-wide.

 

———————–

Government Intimidation

———————–

 

4. (U) With ample notice of the protest, the GOZ has used

state-run newspapers to discourage participation. In the

Sunday Mail for example, State Security Minister Didymus

Mutasa was quoted as saying that the protest would be a

 

HARARE 00001130 002 OF 002

 

 

&grave mistake,8 and that security forces would not

hesitate to &crush8 the protesters. The papers have also

alleged that the protest is an attempt to divert attention

from MDC illegal business activities. Finally, the

government has argued through the newspapers, that it is

willing to discuss economic demands at the negotiating table.

 

5. (SBU) The government has also taken preemptive actions to

thwart participation. Police arrested 15 student union

leaders over the weekend, and then arrested 107 women and

babies gathering in Harare for a WOZA organized demonstration

on Monday which could have served as a building block for the

ZCTU march. Roadblocks have been set up around Harare to

control the movement of potential marchers.

 

——–

Comment

——–

 

6. (C) Caught by surprise by an MDC demonstration on

September 1 (Ref B), the GOZ appears determined to snuff out

the opposition’s momentum before it starts. ZCTU,s

announcement of the protest two weeks in advance, while

perhaps intended to mobilize its supporters, may aid the

government in forestalling the protest. However, if a

demonstration does occur, whatever its size it will help to

maintain focus on the government’s incompetence in dealing

with the country’s deepening economic and political woes.

Moreover, if the police overreact in their efforts to break

up the marches, it could serve to fuel further protests. End

Comment.

 

SCHULTZ

(24 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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