Cosatu to stage anti-Mugabe protests
Date of publication: August 12, 2008
Source: The Zimbabwe Times
By Munyaradzi Mutizwa
South Africa labour movement Cosatu on Tuesday announced that it will stage “‘massive” protests in Johannesburg against President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF regime during the SADC Head of State summit to be held in Midrand, South Africa, starting Friday.
Speaking at a press conference in Johannesburg Cosatu Secretary-General Zwelinzima Vavi said President Mugabe was an illegitimate leader of Zimbabwe and should not claim presidency of Zimbabwe in the presence of regional leaders.
“We condemn the behaviour of Mugabe and therefore we take it upon ourselves to expose him and his unacceptable behaviour before the eyes of the world. In this regard we hereby resolve to hold a massive march, indeed a show of strength and conviction on the 16th August during the SACD heads of states summit in South Africa. In this regard we shall be working together with a broad network of social forces opposed to his evil acts and his rogue regime”, Vavi said
Vavi said human rights abuses in Zimbabwe have scaled new heights as the beatings of ordinary people, the burning down of their property, the killings and torture continue as though the current negotiations mean nothing to the illegal Mugabe regime.
Cosatu said the ongoing power sharing talks between Zanu-PF and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) should not recognized president Mugabe’s June 27 re-election but should recognise the will expressed by Zimbabweans on the March 29 election when MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai won hands down.
“The June elections were illegitimate and therefore the outcomes must not be recognised. Any settlement that does not recognise the will of the people as expressed in the 29 March elections will not be acceptable. It will represent an elite accord that can never enjoy legitimacy in the eyes of the ordinary people of Zimbabwe.” Vavi said.
He said the government to be formed should be an interim government whose main task should be limited to preparing for a fresh round of elections that will strictly adhere to the SADC elections protocols.
Echoing similar sentiments, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) said that neither the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) nor the ruling party Zanu-PF should provide the leadership of the proposed transitional government to be established through the ongoing power-sharing negotiations between the two major political parties.
Calling for a transitional authority to last for 18 months and to be led by a neutral person from the civic movement, the ZCTU dismissed the creation of any MDC-Zanu-PF government as “an elitist-power sharing agreement”.
Speaking at the same press briefing in Johannesburg ZCTU deputy president Lucia Matibenga said the transitional authority should be tasked to facilitate the drafting and adoption of a new constitution that will pave the way for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.
“We whole-heartedly reject the suggestion of an elitist power sharing agreement that fails to address the inadequacy of the current constitutional regime. We demand that a transitional authority should be created from the talks and be headed by an individual who is not a member of Zanu-PF or MDC.” Matibenga said.
“The transitional authority should be tasked with facilitating the drafting and adoption of a new constitution and then holding elections under the new constitutional framework. It should only govern the country until such time as the newly elected government is installed. The negotiating parties should provide a very clear timeframe for this process with no more than 18 months of rule by the transitional authority” she added
Matibenga who is the elected Member of Parliament for Kuwadzana Constituency under MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai told the briefing that “efforts have been made to inform the mediator on the matter”.
She however declined to suggest who should lead the transitional authority and to give Zimbabwe civic organisations structure of the authority.
“These are matters of principle really…but we have worked around the principles and the general framework that we believe is workable for our situation in Zimbabwe”, she said
Matibenga whose speech indicated that MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai should not lead the government of national unity. There a run-in between Matibenga and Tsvangirai when Tsvangirai sidelined her as chairwoman of the MDC women’s league and replaced her with Theresa Makone, wife of one of his senior advisors, Ian Makone. Some in the MDC leadership viewed this is a case of nepotism.
Matibenga also called for the immediate dismantling of the Zanu-PF youth militia bases scattered around the country and for international monitors to be deployed to Zimbabwe to assist in ending violence in the country.