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Ministers condemn the arrest of Bulawayo youths
Habakkuk Trust
April 09, 2013

Government Ministers have castigated the arrest of 21 Bulawayo youth activists who were protesting against ZESA’s decision of employing about 300 people from outside the Matabeleland Region for a project at Insukamini Sub Station in Bulawayo as reported in the Newsday of 09 April 2013.

Speaking to Habakkuk Trust over the phone, the Co-Minister in the Organ for National Healing, Reconciliation and Re-integration, Honourable Moses Mzila Ndlovu condemned the arrest as a ‘blatant violation of the rights of people because these people were just claiming their right to employment’ and denying ‘youths from the region economic opportunities for empowerment and development’. Honourable Mzila further reiterated that, “It will be difficult to attain peace in this country because peace without justice is useless. Justice simple means that people in communities should be the first to benefit from opportunities in their locality.” Mzila further added that, “We can never have reconciliation and peace when preferential treatment in access to opportunities and resources disregards locals.” The Minister also called on all youths of Zimbabwe to emulate the arrested youths saying, “What these young people did should be done by youths generally in Zimbabwe. Whether you are in Mutoko, Beitbridge, Victoria Falls or wherever in Zimbabwe, people should not allow opportunities being taken under their nose without taking action against it.”

The Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals Honourable Gorden Moyo, speaking from Harare condemned the arrests saying, “People should not be arrested for expressing their views considering that Zimbabwe is a democracy that should allow freedom of expression in various ways and the arrest are not only undemocratic but also a violation of freedoms.” Honourable Moyo further reiterated Mzila’s sentiments saying, “Whenever you are employing people in a particular area, the locals should be the first to benefit, as it’s an acknowledged fact that local communities will do a better job.”

Moyo also condemned ZESA for ‘importing labour to Bulawayo’ saying, “I believe there is no reason and it is wrong for anyone to be importing labour especially to Matabeleland where there are many people who are not employed.”

Meanwhile Habakkuk Trust joined other civic groups and leaders of political parties from the region to visit the arrested youths at Bulawayo Central Police station. Among the arrested were young people from Emganwini and some Habakkuk Trust community advocacy action team members from Emganwini who had participated on their individual capacities.

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