The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) is facing an imminent split after eight of its 33 affiliates vowed to block the labour body’s seventh congress scheduled for next week in Bulawayo.
Serious squabbles have reportedly emerged over who takes over as secretary-general after Wellington Chibebe’s imminent departure for Brussels, Belgium.
Yesterday, the eight affiliates — led by Raymond Majongwe of the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) — threatened to expel any member who will attend the Bulawayo congress.
The group is apparently unhappy with the manner in which the impending ZCTU elections would be conducted.
The eight affiliates include PTUZ, Zimbabwe Energy Workers’ Union, Zimbabwe Leather, Shoe and Allied Workers’ Union, Civil Service Employees’ Association, Zimbabwe Rural District Councils Workers’ Union, the Zimbabwe Graphical Workers’ Union and the National Airways Workers’ Union.
“The reasons for the current acrimony and discord are a result of certain personalities in the ZCTU who think they own the institution and believe they can control how it operates and determine its destiny and future,” Majongwe said.
“We are not happy with the way ZCTU secretary-general, Wellington Chibebe wants to run the ZCTU because he has made it his business to decide who will take over the leadership at the ZCTU as he is leaving for Brussels.”
Majongwe alleged Chibebe was leaving behind a $762 000 debt among a litany of other problems.
“We are very disturbed by the phenomena where one Lucia Matibenga — who is MDC-T MP for Kuwadzana — is almost duly elected president of the ZCTU all because of chicanery and clear malice, yet she is a member of the national executive council and is governor-designate for Masvingo province, but wants to masquerade as secretary-general,” Majongwe added.
He claimed the MDC-T wanted to impose Matibenga to take over the ZCTU leadership in cahoots with Chibebe.
“We are seeking a High Court interdict that stops everything happening at the Bulawayo congress forthwith until we deal with these matters.
We are simply saying Chibebe has to go where he got his job in Brussels and leave genuine people in the labour movement to decide on the future and fate of workers in this country,” Majongwe said.
However, Chibebe hit back saying the eight affiliates and Majongwe were playing “Muppet Shows” fit for children and had no authority to stop the Bulawayo congress. “Under what capacity was Majongwe declaring that whoever is going to attend the Bulawayo congress will be fired?
He has just submitted his application to stop the congress at the High Court and let the courts decide. He has no authority whatsoever to declare such statements because they can only be made by the general council,” he said.
Chibebe said at the ZCTU general council on Saturday the congress programme was unanimously agreed. He said it was not true the MDC-T had tried to impose Matibenga’s candidature. However, he said everyone was free to inspect the nomination forms because it was transparent.
He said he was the outgoing secretary-general and had no intention to control ZCTU from abroad.