Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) condemns in the strongest terms the unlawful arrest and detention of teachers, who were peacefully demonstrating over their outstanding bonuses and poor working conditions in Harare yesterday morning.
Passmore Nyakureba,ZimRights National Chairperson
ZimRights maintains that the arbitrary arrest of peaceful protesters by police is a flagrant violation of the new Constitution, which guarantees the right to freely demonstrate and petition in Section 59 in the Bill of Rights in Chapter 4. The arrest of protesters also confirms the continued closure of democratic space.
The Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (RTUZ) staged a peaceful demonstration in Harare yesterday, over their delayed bonuses and deductions made to their salaries without consultation. The salaries also came late on December 29, 2015 after the Christmas holiday and the bonuses are still to be paid.
During the demonstration along Nelson Mandela Avenue, RTUZ made a wide call for the payment of other civil servants, who include nurses and doctors, who are yet to receive their December salaries.
Heavily-geared and belligerent riot police details, ferried in more than three trucks, intercepted the peaceful demonstrators at Parliament, arresting RTUZ president, Obert Masaraure and RTUZ secretary-general, Robson Chere and another activist in a clear show of force.
Meanwhile, the ZimRights information department toured Parirenyatwa Hospital on Saturday and discovered that a lot of patients were stranded, as the medical practitioners were on a go-slow.
Hospitals in Harare and nearby areas, such as Harare Central Hospital and Chitungwiza Central Hospital, due to the strike, were referring an inordinate number of patients to Parirenyatwa, where a skeletal complement of doctors on duty were overwhelmed. Medical staff unreservedly expressed their disgruntlement.
ZimRights condemns the collapse that has the potential to worsen in the critical social services sector, which is already underway in the health sector, jeopardising critical fundamental rights such as health due to failure by the government to meet its obligations to employees.