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Crisis Report - Issue 227
in Zimbabwe Coalition
October 08, 2013
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violence on unpaid workers’ protesting wives unconstitutional
has condemned the police’s harassment of protesting wives
of coal mine workers who had reportedly walked 20km from town Centre
to the Hwange Colliery General Manager’s office, demanding
their husbands’ five months unpaid salaries on Monday, October
The women, who
apparently came out in a strong show of support for their husbands,
were subjected to harassment and violent manhandling leading to
many being injured and four being hospitalized at Hwange Colliery
Hospital, leading to a collective outrage over the police’s
heavy-handedness by women’s rights activists.
Coalition Chairperson Virginia Muwanigwa said the police’s
actions at Hwange were a violation of the democratic rights of women.
the women had a genuine issue that they were raising with the Hwange
Colliery,” Muwanigwa said. “It is a sad day when police
assault people who are exercising their democratic right.”
Section 59 of
the new Constitution
of Zimbabwe reads: “Every person has the right to demonstrate
and to present petitions, but these rights must be exercised peacefully.”
and 53 provide for the right to dignity, and freedom from torture
or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment respectively.
the vice-chairperson of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) and
director of Zimbabwe Young Women’s Network for Peace Building,
said the development was shocking as “the police are supposed
to protect women’s rights” instead of unleashing violence
people who are supposed to protect us when our rights are violated
as women are the same people who are violating our rights,”
is a domestic issue it becomes a big issue, but on the streets we
should recognize that it is still violence against women. Police
brutality against women is the worst form of violence against women.”
by the disgruntled housewives for their spouses’ unpaid salaries
follows similar recent demonstrations at National Railways of Zimbabwe
(NRZ) and Renco Mine, apparently showing the desperation caused
by economic challenges countrywide.
which is also the standard employer in the country, is the major
shareholder at NRZ and Hwange Colliery.
Deputy Secretary General of the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), said the Labour federation
“does not believe the police must beat anybody” as they
have no right to do so.
on its own is arbitrary and should not be allowed in any democratic
country,” Shoko said. “Demonstrations are guided by
laws and those laws do not say police must beat up people, but rather
that they must arrest if necessary.”
Shoko said the
police were not expected “to interfere with labour issues”,
but defended the involvement of disgruntled housewives, saying the
labour laws in the country were too prohibitive for workers to protest
without risking dismissal, or legal action.
law is too restrictive for workers to express themselves even when
they have genuine issues,” Shoko said. “For example,
for you to protest you must apply fourteen days in advance because
of the stringent procedures, you have hindrances when the issue
is a pressing one.
happens is that solidarity strikes come in from wives and children.”
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