Zwelinzima Vavi
The Observer,
Sunday June 29, 2008

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is appalled at the evels of violence and intimidation being inflicted on the people of Zimbabwe by the illegitimate Robert Mugabe regime. Political violence in the country has reached alarming if not catastrophic proportions.

The 27 June presidential election was not an election, but a declaration of war against the people of Zimbabwe by the ruling party. Dozens of people have been murdered due to politically motivated violence. Thousands of others have been threatened with death, beaten, tortured and harassed for supporting the opposition political party.

The congress therefore supports the decision of our fellow trade unionists in the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions not to accept the outcome of any flawed election, and demands that the leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union make a clear public statement that the ‘election’ held on 27 March was a cruel sham, and to withdraw their recognition of a government that has no mandate to rule following its defeat, but is clinging to power by brute force.

We call on workers in Africa and the world over, as well as all progressive citizens of the world, to work towards a total isolation of Mugabe and his government. We ask that they never serve Mugabe anywhere, including at airports, restaurants, shops, and never to allow Mugabe to set foot in their countries.

We will work with Cosatu Limpopo Province, which borders Zimbabwe, to start  mobilising for a blockade to protest against the violence Mugabe has unleashed against his own people. This will also serve as a reminder to the now illegal and illegitimate government that Zimbabwe is not an island and that it needs the co-operation of neighbours like South Africa to survive.

We call on all Cosatu’s other provinces and civil society organisations to organise rallies during June and July, and to call on the ANC and South African Communist party to take similar action. We ask all governments not to recognise Mugabe’s illegal government and to refuse to have any dealings with Mugabe other than ensuring that he work towards new elections strictly under the conditions of total observance of the SADC election protocols.

‘International solidarity is the lifeblood of trade unionism,’ says one of the Congress of South African Trade Unions’ core principles. And that principle has guided the federation’s approach to the crisis in Zimbabwe. We are acting in solidarity with our fellow trade unionists in the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions at a time when they are under severe attack for the leading role they have played in the struggle for democracy and human rights in their country.

. Zwelinzima Vavi is general secretary of Cosatu

(This article first appeared in the Observer (UK)

Post published in: Opinions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *