Education International
Education International

Zimbabwe: Further harassment of trade union leader

published 28 March 2006 updated 7 June 2018

Raymond Majongwe, General Secretary of the Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), was detained for 8 hours on 24 March for "driving" a group of four Dutch trade unionists visiting the country. Police in the Mabvuku suburb of Harare said "Majongwe’s visitors were taking pictures of police activities at a roadblock" and that "Majongwe aided them in destabilisation activities by driving the car in use".

What actually happened, according to Andre Dumont, International Secretary of the Dutch teacher union AOb and one of the four Dutch visitors, is that the police had been following the group around for the whole day and was looking for an opportunity to apprehend them. The Dutch trade unionists accompanied by Raymond Majongwe were visiting schools to find out about the working conditions of teachers and learning conditions of pupils. The police saw an opportunity when Andre Dumont took pictures at a roundabout. The five trade unionists were brought to the police station, had their passports examined and were interrogated for 8 hours. They were not detained overnight on Friday, but had to report to the Mabvuku police station the following morning on Saturday. All their photographic equipment was seized and police processed the photos, only to discover pictures of stones! It was only then that the matter was finally allowed to rest. Majongwe said even after the incident, state security officials continued to follow him. He had to spend the rest of the weekend at home, to avoid giving them further excuses to harass him. The Dutch trade unionists also deplore the fact that a representative of the Zimbabwe Education Minister, who had accepted to make a presentation about the Zimbabwe teachers' training programme in the context of the Dutch mission, was subsequently fired on Sunday 26 March. EI will continue to monitor the situation and remain vigilant in denouncing unacceptable behaviour on the part of Zimbabwean government officials.