LAW and order police officers yesterday pounced on Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions’ Central Region chairperson, Kudakwashe Munengiwa, and arrested him at his Gweru City Council office over last week’s demonstration against the imposition of a 2% per dollar tax imposed by government.
BY BRENNA MATENDERE
Munengiwa’s arrest brings to four the number of ZCTU leaders who have been arrested following the protest held in the city on October 12.
Gweru district ZCTU chairperson Moses Gwaunza was arrested at midnight after the protests, while district secretary Bernard Sibanda and central region officer Charles Chikozho were picked from their workplaces the following day.
They were, however, released without charge after prosecutors at the Gweru Magistrates’ Courts declined to prosecute them on the basis that the police case against them was weak.
“I can confirm that our regional chairperson, Munengiwa, has been arrested by police over the demonstration that we held last week. He was taken from his workplace at Town House. We regret the development because the same officers failed to find a strong case for the other three leaders of the union on the same case, but now they arrest another person. We went to see our chairman in detention and now we are organising lawyers to defend him,” ZCTU central region secretary Rabbecca Butau said.
She took a swipe at President Emmerson Mnangagwa, saying his administration was acting contrary to promises he made ahead of the July 30 elections.
“President Mnangagwa promised that he will uphold the constitutional provisions to the best of his ability when he took oath of office. But now, citizens, who are exercising their constitutional right to demonstrate, are being frustrated and arrested. President Mnangagwa also said he will have a listening government and provide servant leadership, but that is not what is happening. We urge the government to uphold citizens’ rights,” she said.
Munengiwa told Southern Eye that he wanted the police to take him to court.
“I am at the Law and Order section. I have been arrested over the peaceful demonstration that we held against the illegal 2% tax introduced by the regime. I am urging the police to take me to court immediately so that my innocence is quickly proven,” he said.
Midlands provincial acting police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Ethel Mukwende, however, said she was unaware of the arrest.
“I do not have facts on that matter. If I get them, I will, however, not be able to comment. I will just forward them to the national spokesperson (Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba) and then you can get a comment from her,” she said.