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  • 2002 Presidential & Harare Municipal elections - Index of articles

  • Calls from around the world for the release of kidnapped trade unionist
    March 18, 2002

    The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU)

    The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), representing some 157 million union members worldwide, is extremely concerned at the abduction of the President of the Zimbabwe Civil Service Employees Association, Ephraim Tapa, and his wife Faith Mukwakwa, who have been detained by “war veterans” since 16th of February.

    According to our information received, a group of “war veterans” intercepted the vehicle they were travelling in on their return from the ZCTU’s All Stakeholder meeting, which had been held in Harare earlier on that day. Mr. Tapa’s two brothers who were travelling with him managed to escape, although one was shot in the arm.

    We have been informed that the ZCTU has written to July Moyo, the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, requesting him to urge his colleagues to find the whereabouts of Brother Tapa. The abduction was also reported to the police but so far no serious investigation has been carried out. We have also been informed that Brother Tapa and his wife are still alive but are being held in a secret place by the “veterans”. This makes us fear for their personal safety, since both Brother Tapa and his wife suffer from hypertension and consequently need regular access to medical treatment.

    May I stress that the ICFTU vigorously condemns this abduction, which is clearly related to the violence surrounding the forthcoming elections. We support the call of our affiliate, the ZCTU, to disband the militias, which are spreading terror and brutality throughout the country. The locations of the militia camps are well known to the authorities but no attempt has been made to close them.

    I therefore urge you to take all the necessary steps to ensure that your administration releases Mr. and Mrs. Tapa as a matter of utmost urgency and guarantees their safety as well as that of all other citizens. We also ask you will have halted all “state sponsored terrorism” in the run-up to the presidential elections of 9th and 10th March and end the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of such violence. We further request you to promote the “code of good conduct” agreed on 4th of March between the parties competing in the forthcoming elections.

    Lastly, I strongly disapprove of the recent threat in your electoral campaign to deregister the ZCTU. This would be an attack against the democratic right of trade unions to organise their activities freely and would therefore further damage the image of your country. I would also like to draw your attention to the fact that the ICFTU has written to the ILO Director-General, Juan Somavia, to request his personal intervention to ensure the release of Mr. and Mrs. Tapa. Furthermore, the ICFTU will not hesitate to mobilise its solidarity network if such serious violations against Zimbabwean trade unionism continue.

    Rosie Wagstaff

    Other organisations that responded:

    • National Association of Letter Carriers (AFL-CIO) - Massachusetts USA
    • International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) - Australia
    • International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) - USA
    • Indian Managerial and Professional Employees Centre(IMPEC)
    • Community and Public Sector Union in Australia (former member)
    • Unison members at Kingston Hospital Surrey U.K.
    • American Postal Workers Union, Miami Area Local, AFL-CIO
    • Graphical, Paper & Media Union

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