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Jobs seekers arrested
Zimbabwe Unemployed People's Association (ZUPA)
April 10, 2013

We note with sadness that 20 of our members in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and 3 leaders of the MYJR have been arrested while they were on their way to look for jobs at a local Electricity authority (ZESA) plant. This is a major setback in our work and mandate to assist ordinary citizens to get jobs through devolution.

It is our current understanding that the 23 have been offered bail of $50 each and to be back in court on the 23rd April 2012. 22 remain in custody because they are unemployed and they cannot afford the $50 needed to secure their release.

Just a few weeks ago, the Government of Zimbabwe hailed the passing of a new constitution by telling Zimbabweans that devolution or power was included in the document. The arrests are therefore a disturbing development given rumours that while local unemployed residents were being arrested while on their way to seek jobs in their area, ZESA in Bulawayo were in the process of employing hundreds from other regions.

In the next few days, we will remain seized with the issue and will do all we can to seek justice. We appeal to the Zimbabwe Attorney General's office to exercise its discretion and allow the unemployed job seekers to be released. We believe that the use of POSA to arrest a group of people on their way to look for jobs is unfortunate and sets a bad precedence. This may give the impression to local job seekers that they are not considered equal citizens in their own.

We are worried about the locked up members who have no means to pay for legal representation or bail. Those arrested include women and parents whose children have been without care for two days. We appeal to anyone who may have resources or may wish to assist to do so by calling those coordinating assistance Tel: +44 (0)7765916573 or +263 (0) 713453181.

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