Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Picture: Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

Johannesburg – A Wednesday march planned by Zimbabwe’s Apex Council of public sector unions has been given the green light to proceed by the police in what is being interpreted as a litmus test of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s willingness to tolerate dissent.

A police notice received by Apex however warned that the march would be stopped if it turned violent, the Voice of America (VOA) reported.

“The regulating authority still reserves the right to stop the gathering should it turn out to (be) a public order threat or violent. Police will monitor,” Oscar Mugomeri, police commander for Harare central district, wrote in the letter.

The Apex Council is due to meet government officials on Tuesday to discuss union demands for workers to be paid US dollar-indexed salaries, which the unions argue is the only way to protect public sector employees against inflation that economists say reached 380 percent in September.

Representing 230 000 workers, excluding those in the health and security sectors, Apex Council spokesman Charles Chinosengwa said the protest march would go ahead irrespective of the outcome of Tuesday’s meeting.

Security forces under Mnangagwa have previously cracked down harshly on opposition protests leading to numerous deaths and injuries since he was sworn into office in August last year.

African News Agency (ANA)