By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
31 July 2014
Police in Harare this week banned the Zimbabwe Railways and Artisans Union’s peaceful marches, which were scheduled for next week in the country’s four major cities.
The union had notified the police that its members in Bulawayo, Gweru, Harare and Mutare would stage peaceful demonstrations protesting against non-payment of their salaries and other work related challenges. The workers had also asked for a police escort during the planned two-hour long demonstrations.
But according to Lawyers for Human Rights the police said the demonstrations could not be allowed to go ahead. A statement from the rights group quoted a letter from Officer Commanding Harare Central District, Nesbert Saunyama, which said instead of marching the workers should engage management to resolve their dispute.
Observers said the demonstrations stood to draw attention on the extent of public discontent with corporate corruption and state maladministration, hence the police reaction.
The NRZ is one of the many parastatals that have been failing to pay workers due to loss making, corruption and bad management. Only last week Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said he may be forced to shut down loss making parastatals, which he said were suffocating the economy.