[Hopewell Chin’ono is an award winning Zimbabwean international journalist and documentary filmmaker. He is a Harvard University Nieman Fellow and a CNN African Journalist of the year. Hopewell has a new documentary film looking at mental illness in Zimbabwe called State of Mind, which was launched to critical acclaim.]

Robert Mugabe was really bad because he didn’t listen to anyone unless under personal duress, and because of that terrible trait in him, it led to his spectacular and embarrassing undoing with the culmination of a military coup that was supported by the citizens and the rest of the world sealing his ungraceful demise.

Everybody was just tired of the old man, and regardless of the unorthodox means used to remove him, it was a popular and celebrated end of a disastrous rule.

However this was a thirty-seven year tumultuous relationship and journey between Robert Mugabe, the people of Zimbabwe and the rest of the world.

His inconvenient and unintended successor and apprentice, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has only been in power for fourteen months, but he has perfected his former boss’s art of not listening and being oblivious to what the rest of the world thinks of his rule, good or bad.

Mnangagwa inherited Mugabe’s Presidency at a time when everyone including those that never liked him were reluctantly willing to welcome Mugabe’s departure in exchange to the new political arrangement that involved the military generals, who later removed their uniforms and became part of the civilian political establishment.

ZEN calls for immediate end to violent crackdown in Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwe Europe Network (ZEN) strongly condemns the disproportionate force Zimbabwe’s security forces have used against its own citizens in the past week, and is shocked by the seemingly random acts of violence.


Zimbabwean human rights organisations recorded over 800 human rights violations so far, which included at least 12 killings, at least 78 injuries from gunshots, and hundreds of arbitrary arrests.


ZEN further notes with concern the continued and ongoing harassment of civil society, which led to the arrests of activists and forced many others to go into hiding. Several reports indicate that family members of civil society activists have been harassed by security agents in the past days.

ZEN therefore calls for an immediate end of the violence against the citizens of Zimbabwe, and for an immediate end to the deployment of the military. In times of deep economic distress, there is a need for the government to ensure stability and the respect of basic rights for Zimbabwean citizens.

ZEN further calls upon the authorities to stop the crackdown on Zimbabwean civil society and their families. ZEN sends Zimbabwean civil society a message of solidarity and encourages them to stay firm.

ZEN believes the wider international community should strongly condemn the current crackdown on Zimbabwe’s citizens and civil society.

Lastly, ZEN supports calls by our civil society partners for the need for an inclusive national dialogue in Zimbabwe to address the current political and economic crisis. Therefore, ZEN welcomes the remarks made by President Mnangagwa earlier today in which he calls for such a dialogue. ZEN believes that such a dialogue can only be meaningful though, if the trumped up charges against the activists that are currently detained are dropped and the dialogue is underpinned by accountability.
Letter from FNV to Dutch Ambassador

In this letter FNV, the trade union federation of the Netherlands with 1million members, puts her concerns to the Dutch Ambassador in Zimbabwe about the attack on Trade Union leaders and members. The FNV ask the ambassador to put pressure on the goverment to free the prisoners and to start the dialogue with the ZCTU.

 

Aan de Nederlandse Ambassadeur in Zimbabwe,
mevrouw Barbara van Hellemond

Datum 18 januari 2019

Beste mevrouw Van Hellemond,

De FNV wil graag haar bezorgdheid uiten over het toenemende geweld van de overheid in Zimbabwe tegen de recente protesten van burgers, waaronder vertegenwoordigers van vakbonden en maatschappelijke organisaties.
Zoals u weet, zijn deze demonstraties georganiseerd naar aanleiding van de jongste economische maatregelen van de Zimbabwaanse overheid, o.a. prijsverhogingen van goederen en brandstof, waardoor de verdiensten van de werkenden alleen nog maar toereikend zijn voor het transport.
De kosten voor levensonderhoud zijn inmiddels onbetaalbaar. In reactie op de protesten, hebben we vernomen dat het leger bezig is om alle leiders van de Zimbabwaanse vakcentrale, ZCTU, op te zoeken in hun huizen om hen op te pakken.

Het kantoor van ZCTU is afgesloten en een deel van het gebouw van MDC, is naar verluid, afgebrand. Onze collega’s van de ZCTU rapporteren al langer een escalatie van geweld onder de nieuwe regering van Zimbabwe, waarbij tijdens de laatste acties dus zelfs met scherp geschoten is, wat geleid heeft tot de dood van minstens twee demonstranten. Vele mensen zijn gearresteerd en opgepakt.
De ITUC (Internationale Vereniging van Vakbonden, waar de ZCTU net als de FNV bij is aangesloten) heeft verschillende berichten binnengekregen over gewonde demonstranten, nadat ze deelnamen aan de nationale protestacties. Dit zijn recente voorbeelden van openlijke en gewelddadige onderdrukking door de overheid, die echter onderdeel zijn van systematische aanvallen op de werknemersrechten.
Namens de FNV, met meer dan een miljoen leden, doe ik een beroep op uw medewerking om uw invloed aan te wenden om aan deze crisissituatie een eind te maken.
We vragen u om druk te zetten op de regering Mnangagwa om de gevangenen te bevrijden en in dialoog te treden met de ZCTU en met andere mensenrechtenverdedigers, om zo een eind te maken aan de economische en humanitaire crisissituatie in het land.

Met vriendelijke groet,
Tuur Elzinga Vicevoorzitter FNV

11 January 2019 
For immediate release      
         PRESS RELEASE

RE: ZCTU GIVES GOVERNMENT ULTIMATUM TO SOLVE PRICE HIKE MADNESS

Today the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) wrote to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Dr Sekai Nzenza, on the need to address the current hardships facing workers and Zimbabweans in general due to escalating prices of goods and services or face a crippling national strike.
The Minister was given seven days to intervene, failure of which the labour body would mobilise Zimbabweans into national strike.
Of great concern to the ZCTU are the shocking massive price hikes that have affected almost every basic commodity, worsening the plight of the already struggling masses of Zimbabwe. Most workers, who earn an average of $300 per month, are now resorting to walk to their workplaces as they can no longer afford transport fares. 



The ZCTU  demands include:
-       The introduction of  measures that curtail the current price hike
madness
-       Scraping off the 2 cents tax on every dollar transacted as it has
impoverished Zimbabweans 
-       Workers be paid in United States Dollars

We are also calling on all Zimbabweans and other likeminded organisations to wait for the 7 days after which the form of the action would be announced.
This is a fight by Zimbabwe against suffering and the ZCTU is prepared to take leadership in the fight against poverty.


Japhet Moyo
SECRETARY-GENERAL