Zimbabwe’s police arrest top union officials:

Zimbabwe police today arrested top trade union officials in an apparent fresh crackdown on the labour movement. They are Southern African Trade Union Coordinating Council (SATUCC) president Lucia Matibenga, the secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), Wellington Chibhebhe, and an advocacy officer, Timothy Kondo. The three were picked up by police while conducting a labour workshop in the city of Gweru, about 300 kilometres west of Harare. By late afternoon they had not been charged and are being held at Gweru Central police station.

ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo told ZimOnline: “The reason for their arrest is that they were holding a workshop. The government is anti-ZCTU in this country and they would take every action to disrupt any activity organised by ZCTU.” Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena could not be reached for comment on what charges police would lay against the trio or when they were likely to be released. The arrest of the trade unionists comes as the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) plans to send a fact finding mission to Zimbabwe to investigate alleged threats and harassment of labour activists as well as other human rights abuses.


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