Zimbabwe Solidarity Actions – 4 February

One year ago, the government of Zimbabwe began its judicial harassment of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU). This signalled a change of the government’s tactics, from violent repression to an approach of prolonged harassment of trade unionists and other human rights defenders. By repeatedly pursuing trade unionists with fabricated criminal charges and allowing the threat of heavy sentences to linger with repeatedly postponed trials, the government has been undertaking a relentless campaign to discourage workers from defending their interests.

On 4 February 2020, nineteen of the twenty-eight trade unionists still on trial are set to appear in front of courts across the country. This date marks the one-year anniversary of the start of the trials of ZCTU leaders Japhet Moyo and Peter Mutasa. Last year, the international trade union mobilised in solidarity and helped to get all charges dropped and after months of wrangling and threats, both Japhet Moyo and Peter Mutasa now walk free.

This year, the attacks have not gone away and trade unions across the world will show that they will stand by fellow workers in Zimbabwe until the government respects their right to genuine and independent representation. Those on trial on 4 February hail from across the trade union movement, including the women and youth sections.

The generalised criminalisation of trade union activity will not be tolerated. The government must stop its campaign of systematic judicial harassment, drop the charges against trade unionists who undertook peaceful protests and establish genuine dialogue in which the interests of working people are taken on board in policy-making.

Suggested actions on 4 February

Political pressure: protest letters

Trade unions are encouraged to send a letter to both the Zimbabwe government as well as to their own ministry of foreign affairs. A draft letter template to the President of Zimbabwe can be downloaded here. A draft letter template addressed to the minister of foreign affairs can be downloaded here.

Visibility: social media

A big part of the campaign’s success last year lay in the visibility of trade unions speaking out. Pictures and short video messages were posted on social media and gave visibility to the situation in Zimbabwe. This year, we will be sharing content with #FreeTheZim28.

You can find an embargoed copy of our press release here as well as some suggested social media content to share below (further resources will be made available here in the coming days):