ZIMBABWE: Teachers' leaders detained, tortured

Issue 

BY NORM DIXON

Members of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) are continuing their strike for better pay and working conditions. Takavafira Zhou, PTUZ president, declared on October 21 that the arrest and torture of union leaders, and the sacking of some striking teachers, would not intimidate them.

Raymond Majongwe, the PTUZ secretary-general, was again arrested on October 18 and tortured by police officers at a farm by about 10 men. His lawyer, Tinomudaishe Chinyoka, said Majongwe had electric shocks applied to his genitals and mouth. He was ordered to call off the strike and disband the PTUZ within 14 days.

Majongwe appeared before a Harare court on October 19, charged with breaching the "anti-terrorist" Public Order and Security Act. He was remanded in custody. Innocent Moyo, PTUZ Matabeleland organising secretary, and PTUZ activist Enock Paradzai have also been arrested and charged under POSA.

PTUZ national co-ordinator Innocent Sibanda said the arrests and the October 15 announcement that more than 600 striking teachers had been dismissed were unconstitutional. Sibanda said that "the arrest of our leadership ... shows the desperation of the government of President Robert Mugabe".

Teachers went on strike on October 8 in support of a 200% wage rise. Inflation in Zimbabwe is running at 135%.

The PTUZ has appealed for international solidarity. Messages can be sent to <progressive_za@yahoo.com>.

From Green Left Weekly, October 30, 2002.
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