|26 February 2002
Trade union leader abducted
he President of the Zimbabwe Civil
Service Employees Association, Ephraim Tapa, and his wife Faith Mukwakwa, have
been missing since the 16th of February when the vehicle they were
traveling was intercepted by war veterans at Corner Store between Mutoko and
Mr. Tapas two brothers, who were travelling in the car,
were able to escape, although one of the brothers was shot in the arm. Mr. Tapa
was coming from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions All Stakeholder
meeting which had been held in Harare earlier in the day. From there he had
proceeded to pick up his wife before starting on the journey. Mr Tapa is a
member of the ZCTU General Council.
The abduction was reported to the
police but no serious investigation has been carried out. The ZCTU has written
a letter to Mr. July Moyo, the Minister for Labour and Social Welfare, who has
been requested to pressure his counterpart from the Home Affairs to find the
whereabouts of the couple. There are additional worries for the safety of the
couple, as both are hypertensive and if alive, would need to have access to
medication for their condition.
Trade unionists have been targeted
particularly harshly because of their link with the Movement for Democratic
Change, whose base is in the labour movement. During a campaign speech over the
weekend, the Head of State, President Robert Mugabe specifically threatened
that he would deregister the ZCTU.
Civil society groups have long been
calling for the disbanding of the ZANU-PF militias and have pressured the
police to take up their duty to protect citizens from harassment. The locations
of the militia camps are known but no attempt has been made to shut them down
even though it is clear that they are responsible for campaign of terror and
brutality which has intensified each month in the rural and peri-urban areas.
The area where the couple were abducted is known to be one of the
hotspots where incidents of human rights violations have been
particularly high. (ZCTU)