At a meeting attended by just-arrived Zimbabwean trade unionist asylum seekers, the Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU) president, Jeff Radibe, revealed that the union had sent demands to the African Union concerning the Zimbabwe crisis.
National trade union federations in the southern African region held a meeting last week in Switzerland (Geneva), where they decided to draw attention to the fact that Zimbabwean workers are at the forefront of rescuing as logic points out that every one of their rights had been violated by their government.
Radibe lamented that non-governmental organizations had lost confidence in the leadership of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) ever since the statement made by SADC’s mediator on Zimbabwe, South African president Thabo Mbeki, to the effect that there was no crisis in Zimbabwe was released, workers and their families were ill treated almost daily.
The BFTU is also skeptical on the subject of peace during the June 27th election in Zimbabwe, which is why one of their demands was that the African Union deploys peace keepers to Zimbabwe before, during and after elections to prevent more loss of life and to promote a free and fair election.
The Zimbabwe unionists, who preferred not to be named for security reasons, doubt that the election will be free and fair, citing as reasons that ZANU-PF, the ruling party, was openly threatening voters with death if they did not vote for Robert Mugabe.
The Unionists also advised observers to be careful about the schemes carried out within the voting booths, whereby illiterate voters would be assigned a policeman sympathetic to ZANU-PF who would “help the illiterate voter” by ticking for them but would also write the name of the voter down for later reprisals.
The BFTU, which has been chosen to send one observer, has also demanded that all forms of violence against workers be stopped.
The organization has learnt that teachers have been killed, others maimed and many schools closed due to attacks against those suspected of having voted for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
During the meeting, the Unionists also learned that one Edward Zakea, a Zimbabwean trade unionists, had been kidnapped by ZANU-PF, while some were reported killed prompting the Zimbabwean unionists to flee to Botswana.
The Union’s Secretary General, Kazani Mohocha, wanted to make it clear to all that they advocate for the rights of workers and their families and do not support political parties.
The BFTU decided to hold a demonstration on Monday 23rd of June to hand over a petition to the Zimbabwean Embassy.
The march will start at 10 am at their offices at the African Mall and head to the Zimbabwean Embassy.