The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has raised concerns over what it views as the implementation of “repressive laws” reminiscent of colonial times by the government of Zimbabwe. The ZCTU alleges that this year, the government deceived the world by claiming to repeal such laws, while actually rebranding them under new names.
According to ZCTU President Florence Taruvinga, these laws include the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information and Protection of Private Act (AIIPA), which analysts claim are reflected in the Maintenance of Public Order Act (MOPA) and the Freedom of Information Act.
The Private Voluntary Organizations (PVOs) Act, which is intended to regulate the operations of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), has recently been passed by Parliament and will allow the government to restrict the activities of these organizations, including expelling those they consider to be working on political matters.
In addition, Cabinet has approved the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Amendment Bill 2022, which will impose harsh penalties on Zimbabweans accused of campaigning against perceived national interests. Taruvinga argued that this effectively prevents Zimbabweans from communicating with foreign governments about the current situation in the country, furthering the perception that Zimbabwe is ruled by an authoritarian government.
According to Taruvinga, the implementation of these laws has reduced the space for civic engagement and worsened the situation for struggling workers. She stated that Zimbabweans continue to face serious issues of injustice and interference in trade union activities by state agents, and called on authorities to urgently negotiate a social contract with specific protocols to address these challenges in a comprehensive and integrated way. Taruvinga also noted that the current situation poses significant challenges for workers whose income has been impacted by inflationary pressures.