Zimbabwe Unions Call for Tougher Sanctions on Mugabe Regime
Date of publication: July 19, 2008
By Brian Latham
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions called for tougher sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and his senior lieutenants.
ZCTU, the main umbrella body representing organized labor, made the call after the African Union said it will provide a "reference group" of African and United Nations diplomats to assist South African President Thabo Mbeki to mediate talks.
Mbeki has been trying to bring together President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party and the Morgan Tsvangirai-led Movement for Democratic Change in a bid to end an 8-year political crisis in the southern African nation.
"Zimbabwean workers appreciate what the international community has been putting in place as measures to punish the ruling elite, mostly travel bans and disinvestment in Zanu-PF companies," ZCTU acting secretary general Japhet Moyo said in an e-mailed statement today. "Those targeted sanctions and boycott of Zanu-PF companies should remain and even be tightened."
The U.S. and European Union governments have indicated they may increase sanctions against Zimbabwe's rulers after March 29 presidential and parliamentary elections were marred by violence.
The elections were deemed to be neither free nor fair by observers from the Southern African Development Community, the African Union and the Pan-African Parliament.
The ZCTU represents almost all Zimbabwe's workforce in a country where only 20 percent of people are formally employed.
Aside from the crisis sparked by Mugabe's often-violent seizure of most white-owned farms, the southern African nation is in its 10th successive year of economic recession. The rate of inflation is 2.2 million percent, according to the central bank, or 10 million percent according to Kingdom Bank.