Zimbabwe: ZCTU Bemoans Shrinking Civic Space – Accuses Govt of Smuggling Back ‘Repressive Colonial Laws’

THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has bemoaned enactment of “colonial era like repressive laws” that have shrunk civic space and worsened the plight of struggling workers.

Labour contends that this year, the government hoodwinked the world claiming that they were repealing repressive yet they were rebranding them under new names.

ZCTU president Florence Taruvinga who was giving her end of year remarks was referring to the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and Access to Information and Protection of Private Act (AIIPA) whose clauses analysts have said are evident in Maintenance of Public Order Act (MOPA) and Freedom of Information Act.

The Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) Act which intends to govern operations of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) has just passed Parliament and will enable government to restrict their operations, including expelling those they deem to be working on political matters.

Cabinet also approved the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Amendment Bill 2022 that will impose stiff penalties on Zimbabweans who are alleged to be campaigning against perceived national interests.

“Zimbabweans continue to face serious challenges of injustices and shrinking of civic space. Repressive legislation remains in place while interference in trade union activities by State agents continues unabated,” said Taruvinga.

“Repressive laws remain in place and interference in trade union business by the police and other law enforcement agencies remain widespread. Trade unionists were threatened.

“The Criminal Law Amendment Bill effectively bars Zimbabwean from talking to foreign governments on the prevailing situation in the country. Zimbabwe does not need this Bill and by approving this law, the government is shooting itself in the foot as this will cement the widely held view that Zimbabwe is under authoritarian rule.”

Taruvinga said the current situation poses great challenges to already struggling workers whose income has been ravaged by inflationary pressures.

She added: “Given the complexity and sensitivity of the structural challenges the country is facing and the inherent policy conflicts involved, we urge the authorities to urgently negotiate a social contract with issue-specific protocols to deal with the challenges in a holistic and integrated way.”


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