The government of zimbabwe this week expelled a visiting delegation from south africa’s cosatu trade union.
The group from the congress of south african trade unions had gone to harare on fact-finding mission to assess political, labor and human rights issues. It had decided make the trip despite warnings by the government of Zimbabwe that cosatu’s 13-member delegation was neither “welcome nor acceptable.”
The country’s cabinet ordered the group’s deportation after it refused to guarantee it would not meet with certain civic groups critical of the administration of President Robert Mugabe.
The African branch of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, which represents over 15 million members in 45 African countries, criticized the expulsion. In a letter to president mugabe, it called the action a “barbaric and undemocratic act.” The South African Communist Party said it was outraged and angered.
English to Africa reporter William Eagle spoke with Daniel Molokela of the Peace and Democracy Project in Johannesburg, South Africa. He said the incident adds credence to his group’s claim that quiet diplomacy on the part of the South African government is not working – and that the governments of southern Africa need to take a tougher stand against Harare.