The Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU) has threatened to take government to the Committee of Experts on Freedom of Association if it (government) fails to meet the former’s demands.
The committee which is an arm of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) looks at disciplinary issues on freedom of association among its member States.
The threat follows recent arrest of 14 National Registration Bureau (NRB) officers in Mzuzu purportedly on an order by the Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Grace Chiumia.
In a statement co-signed by its president Luther Mambala and secretary general Dennis Kalekeni, MCTU has demanded an open apology from Chiumia, a statement from government condemning Chiumia’s conduct, immediate payment of the concerned workers’ salaries and arrears and professionalism on the part of police.
“We want government to condemn these barbaric acts, or else, MCTU shall have no option but to include these actions in our report to the Committee of Experts on Freedom of Association for government to appear before the committee next year in June during the International
Labour Conference,” reads the statement.
The 14 were arrested by Mzuzu police on Sunday 17th September, 2017 and were charged with unlawful assembly and conspiracy to commit a felony but were later granted police bail reportedly to allow police conduct some investigations.
Kalekeni described the arrest as a violation of human rights citing freedom of association as enshrined in the Malawi Constitution.
“You cannot have a system where some personalities can rape the Constitution and go unpunished. We demand an immediate action by government on this issue,” he said.
Kalekeni said prior to the order of arrest, the workers had assembled at Shoprite complex premises in Mzuzu discussing how they would present their grievances on unpaid salaries or honorarium to relevant authorities.
In an earlier interview with The Nation, NRB spokesperson Norman Fulatira said the arrest affected the bureau’s operations. n