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Zesa demonstrators ‘assaulted’, arrested

THE eight Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) workers suspended for taking part in an “illegal demonstration” in February were arrested yesterday while attending a colleague’s disciplinary hearing in Harare.

Their lawyer, Lovemore Madhuku, confirmed that his clients were assaulted before being arrested by anti-riot police while they attended a disciplinary hearing for one of them.

“As I am talking to you right now, they are at Harare Central Police Station. They were attacked while attending a disciplinary hearing for one of them, but I don’t understand why the ZETDC management decided to send the police to do this,” he said.

The workers were later released into the custody of their lawyer and are expected to appear in court today.

ZETDC is a subsidiary of Zesa Holdings and the workers had been barred from staging the demonstration by the High Court.

Yesterday, according to the workers, the police assaulted them indiscriminately “for no reason”.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions vice-president, Florence Taruvinga said she was also caught up in the crossfire.

“As you are aware, the demonstrations were basically on the corruption that is prevalent at Zesa such as the awarding of tenders to dubious characters like Wicknell Chivayo, Highfield West National Assembly member Psychology Maziwisa and former ZBC news anchor, Oscar Pambuka. As workers, we wanted the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission to take action,” one of the affected workers said.

The workers claimed their arrest was part of a ZETDC management plot to stop them from exposing corruption at the power utility.

ZCTU secretary-general, Japhet Moyo said what was happening at Zesa was nothing but anti-union and pure victimisation of trade unionists.

“We strongly condemn the police brutality as it is contrary to the Constitution of Zimbabwe. We also call upon the police not to interfere in purely labour issues and leave them to competent institutions,” Moyo said.

Zesa spokesperson, Fullard Gwasira was unreachable for comment.

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