Workers’ Day Drama: Anti-Government Voices Silenced at Zimbabwe Rally

Political Tensions Escalate as CCC Allies Prevented from Speaking

by Adenike Adeodun

Suspected anti-government activists were silenced during Workers’ Day commemorations in Harare, Zimbabwe, as reported by NewsDay. The event at Gwanzura Stadium saw former Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa’s allies, including Gift Siziba, barred from addressing the crowd.

Siziba, who represented Chamisa, exited the event with several workers after being unable to speak. The situation escalated when Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) leader Florence Taruvinga, during her address, echoed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s slogan, which reportedly agitated some attendees.

According to a leaked audio, the ZCTU had implemented strict vetting processes for speakers, eliminating those deemed anti-government, including Siziba. In the recording, ZCTU Secretary-General Japhet Moyo is heard outlining the conditions for speakers, noting that they must sign affidavits taking responsibility for their followers’ actions at the event.

Moyo explained the rationale behind these restrictions, emphasizing the desire to maintain peace and focus on labor issues rather than political conflict. He stated that the ZCTU aimed to create an inclusive environment free from vulgar language and disturbances, focusing on unity and constructive discussions about labor concerns and poor working conditions.

However, CCC spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi clarified that their intention was not to disrupt but to show solidarity with the workers. Siziba criticized the ZCTU’s approach, accusing it of being influenced by the state and not adequately representing workers’ interests. He argued that this interference compromises the democratic integrity and the legitimacy of the state, which he claimed was reflected in the country’s economic struggles.

The event also highlighted broader concerns about the impact of climate change on workers globally. The International Labour Organization noted the increased risks to workers from environmental hazards such as excessive heat and pollution, linking these to a rise in various health conditions.

Legal watchdog Veritas expressed additional concerns about the safety of agricultural workers exposed to pesticides and the unchecked use of chemicals, particularly in Africa. They called on the Zimbabwean government to enforce regulations protecting workers, including laws on protective clothing, a minimum wage, a national health insurance scheme, and stricter control over chemical use in mining and agriculture to safeguard workers’ health.


Source: Newsday

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