A new dawn for Zimbabwe?
United in their call for Robert Mugabe to step down as the President of their country, hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans took their demands to the State House on Saturday, 18 November. The massive march made clear that civil society and the trade union movement are resolute in their desire for Mugabe, who ruled for 37 years, to step down. A transitional government must be put in place, they say, and its leaders should pave the way for free, fair, and peaceful elections in Zimbabwe.
Amongst other demands, the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions wants an inclusive Transitional Authority with a defined time frame; a reform of state institutions; a new sense of belonging to all citizens based on the principle of collectivism; the restoration of all lost freedoms; a return to constitutional rule; and a restoration of basic socioeconomic rights such as education and health services, decent jobs, and a responsive, accountable government.
The ruling ZANUPF called a special meeting of the Party’s Central Committee on Sunday 19 November, and in an unprecedented move, it recalled Robert Mugabe as Party leader and gave him a deadline of noon, 20 November, to step down as President of the Country or face impeachment.
The Party also expelled Grace Mugabe amongst others and installed Emmerson Mnagagawa as their new leader. In his first televised address since the military takeover on Sunday evening 19 November, Mugabe appeared defiant, and it is reported that he is intending to challenge the decisions of the Central Committee in Court.
UNI Global Union and UNI Africa stood by the Trade Union Movement in Zimbabwe through the continuing economic, political, and social crises that have blighted Zimbabwe for many years. We have supported her affiliates in the most trying times, for example, in 2008 when the country faced hyperinflation, and it was impossible for unions to conduct normal trade union activities.
UNI Global Union together with UNIFOR, LO Norway, Union to Union, and the Swedish Affiliates stood by our affiliate unions to assist with organising campaigns, collective bargaining training, and other items to help them conduct normal trade union activities in a time of economic crisis.
UNI Global Union and UNI Africa are ready to continue to work with affiliates as they enter the post-Mugabe era and supports their call for a just transition.