Workers’ Day rallies still in limbo

Workers’ Day commemorations in Bulawayo are still hanging in the balance as police have not yet responded to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)’s request to hold its planned marches.

Police last week banned planned May Day commemorations by the country’s largest labour body in Mutare and Kwekwe, citing security reasons.

ZCTU secretary-general Wellington Chibebe is on record saying the labour body would seek legal recourse to have the ban lifted.

He said they were going to approach the High Court over the issue.

ZCTU national information officer Khumbulani Ndlovu told NewsDay yesterday they still had not received a response to their application for permission to mark the day in Bulawayo, with just a few days before the commemorations.

“We have not yet received any response regarding May Day celebrations in Bulawayo,” she said.
“We are hoping that by tomorrow (Wednesday) we will be having a clear picture of what will be happening in all the provinces.”

But ZCTU western region officer Percy Mcijo said he was hopeful they would be granted permission to hold marches in Bulawayo.

“The situation is a bit uncertain, but we are hoping that the police will give us the go-ahead to hold our commemorations,” he said.

Mcijo added that this year’s commemorations would be held simultaneously in outlying districts like Binga, Victoria Falls, Hwange, Gwanda, Plumtree and Cement Siding.

Celebration centres for this year’s commemorations have been increased from 34 to 38.

This year’s theme is: Respect our rights; Save our Economy, Protect our Jobs.

Civil society groups and political parties opposed to President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF have in the past accused the police of stifling the freedoms of Zimbabweans by banning gatherings and marches.

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