Peace returns to Zimbabwe hospitals as COVID-19 pandemic spreads; acquittal and bail for journalists, protesters; action on police corruption

The Zimbabwe Nurses Union has called for a return to work after months of strikes over pay and workplace safety, after the appointment of Vice-President Chiwenga as Health Minister. Civil servants have been promised a pay adjustment every three months. However, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions called for wages to be paid in US dollars and for lightening workplace lunchtime protests on September 1. Teacher unions are also determined to gain pay in US dollars.

An African national Congress delegation visited Harare on September 8-9 to continue the dialogue called for by SA President Cyril Ramaphosa. Again, it did not meet with opposition parties, particularly Nelson Chamisa’s MDC Alliance, but promised to do so next time.

The peace-making tone was extended with the acquittal of journalists arrested in May, and the bailing of two key figures in the abortive July 31 mass protest project. However, another political leader, MDC Alliance Vice-Chairperson Job Sikhala, was arrested over this issue.

Bishops in South Africa, England and the Anglican Bishops of Zimbabwe all rallied behind the Catholic Bishops Conference of Zimbabwe, calling for respect and the end of the hate-speech from ZANU-PF.

While Transparency International – Zimbabwe called for much stronger coordinated action against corruption, the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission made significant moves against senior police and politicians.

While the US Treasury withdrew a US$385 million penalty against CBZ Holdings Ltd for sanction-busting transactions during the Mugabe presidency, the US Ambassador to Zimbabwe called for regional intervention into Zimbabwe, in turn provoking angry calls for his expulsion from Presidential Spokesperson George Charamba.

Zimbabwe Information Centre, Australia
September 13, 2020