The president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Peter Mutasa, has said that recent threats by government officials to civil society groups and opposition political parties are an unfortunate confirmation that the country was going in the wrong direction.
His remarks come after Defence Minister, Oppah Muchiri threatened to unleash soldiers with a “shoot to kill” instruction if intended protests take place.
Mutasa said that the government should be committing its efforts towards addressing workers’ grievances instead of suppressing them. He said:
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There is no government that must celebrate the killing of its citizens. It is appalling.
Workers grievances are legitimate and the government must focus on resolving them not on sharpening its arms against defenceless citizens.
Workers and the majority of the citizens are suffering. Many are starving, failing to pay rentals and facing evictions. Many cannot access medical care and are dying in their homes.
Instead of opening the armoury, the government must open channels of genuine dialogue. Instead of killing citizens, it must kill poverty and hunger that is stalking the majority of citizens.
He added that the labour union will now have to go back to the workers and ask their stance after the government had issued threats. He said:
We are, however, sure that workers will proceed with peaceful forms of protests. For history teaches us that no form of repression managed to stop people from raising their legitimate grievances and from attaining their freedom.
More: News Day