Newly-elected secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) Japhet Moyo has labelled former president Lovemore Matombo and affiliate member Raymond Majongwe as “agents of third forces” bent on destabilising the labour body.
Moyo dismissed recent claims by Majongwe and Matombo the just-ended ZCTU’s elective congress in Bulawayo was illegitimate.
The pair claimed at a Press conference last week they would organise a “legitimate” ZCTU congress in December.
Matombo last week claimed the Pulp and Paper Workers’ Union had been involved in cheating during the elections in Bulawayo to ensure his defeat.
“The person who was given the responsibility to verify union membership colluded with some unions to inflate membership so as to increase the number of delegates to congress and when the general council sat to consider the verification exercise on July 9, it discovered incomprehensible irregularities, raising suspicion of cheating,” alleged Matombo.
“It was discovered that the Commercial Workers’ Union led by Lucia Matibenga, Food Industry, General and Agricultural Plantation Union of Zimbabwe and the Pulp and Paper Workers’ Union did not meet the constitutional standards of the ZCTU.”
But, president of the Zimbabwe Pulp and Paper Workers’ Union John Ngirazi yesterday said the allegations that his union had been used to inflate the numbers of its members at the Bulawayo congress were mischievous.
Ngirazi said: “We are being cited as non-existent by Matombo and his group, (but) we understand this matter is already before the courts. As a union, we are surprised by the behaviour of Matombo and his recent reneging from the ideology that he had always been preaching that we should be united as ZCTU. I do not think it is proper to say since Hunyani was closed then the former workers should no longer have a union.”
Moyo also said: “As far as the ZCTU is concerned, the issue of the congress is water under the bridge. The congress was held on August 19 and 20 where a new leadership was ushered in. It is important to note that the Communications and Allied Services Workers’ Union where Matombo comes from participated in the congress right through to the elections.”
He said Majongwe’s Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe was not eligible to participate at the congress as the union was in arrears.
“The four unions that purport to have joined Matombo and his group are not members of ZCTU as their application for affiliation had not been approved yet. So, the 12 unions that are alleged to be ‘disgruntled’ do not exist,” said Moyo.
“The bonafide Commercial Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe led by Cde Lucia Matibenga is affiliated to ZCTU. The Transport and General Workers’ Union was disaffiliated for non-payment of subscriptions, hence it is also not a member of ZCTU.”
Moyo said consequently, the claims by this group are illegitimate just as the leaders of the group are.
“The workers decided in Bulawayo, and the ZCTU stands by the mandate that was given to the newly-elected leadership led by George Nkiwane. It is unfortunate that this group has sought to destabilise the labour movement using unorthodox means,” said Moyo.
“It is unfortunate that these comrades have allowed a situation whereby they are used by a third force to try and divide the labour movement.”