Workers in Bulawayo on Thursday grilled the disposed Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) former President Lovemore Matombo and the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Raymond Majongwe over the squabbles at the labour union demanding to know which camp among the two feuding groups is legitimate and collecting their subscriptions.
Matombo, Majongwe, Angeline Chitambo, Clifford Nkala and four others organised a labour forum which was held at the Royal Hotel in Bulawayo to address workers over the ZCTU crisis.
The forum was the third in the row since they started in Harare on Tuesday and in Gweru on Wednesday.
Matombo, Majongwe and Chitambo described the elective congress held at the Elite 400 hall in Bulawayo on August 19 and 20, where George Nkiwane was elected President and Japhet Moyo secretary-general, as highly flawed.
They likened it to the 2008 presidential run-off where President Robert Mugabe continued to contest even after his rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had withdrawn from the race.
“When trade unions do fraud we are told to shut up. But when Zanu PF and (President) Mugabe did that the same, trade unions condemned the action as a high level of fraud. We are not worried about the number of people who subscribe to such fraud, but we want justice and we are headed for a big fight.” threatened Majongwe. “If 55 idiots say 1+1 is 50 and I am the only one who says it is 2, I will not join that group.”
Chaos erupted when Matombo started his address. Some youths stormed into the hotel to confront Majongwe accusing him of insulting them concerning their mothers’ private parts.
The chaos lasted about 15 minutes before hotel security could calm the situation. The youths who said “comrades” to those restraining them threatened to deal with Majongwe later.
Addressing workers, Matombo said they were not interested in positions, but wanted justice and democracy to prevail and determine who is to lead the union.
“You will be surprised that no one of us here will contest in the congress we are organising for December. We are prepared to work with Nkiwane and Moyo as long as we follow the constitution. We will not rest until this issue is resolved,” said Matombo.
After their address, most of the workers seemed unconvinced on which group’s ideas they could subscribe to.
“You all knew about congress. Even the alleged breach of the constitution and abuse of office by the former secretary-general Wellington Chibebe. You knew it. Why did you not act in time? You are not telling us the truth. We must know the truth here and now. If you knew all this then why and how did you allow the situation to deteriorate to this point?” fumed one worker.
Another worker said workers were confused as to who the leaders of the ZCTU are since it appears Matombo still claims to be in charge yet those who were elected at the congress are already in office.
“We need clarification here. You challenged the congress which was later given the green light by the High court. We want to know the truth here. Which is the legitimate ZCTU leadership between you and those who were elected at the congress you are disputing?” questioned another worker.
Workers queried which ZCTU was collecting their subscriptions between the two and said that they were being held to ransom.
Matombo and Majongwe unconvincingly reverted to the fact that they wanted to correct the flawed process which appeared to have taken position as the elected leaders were already in officer through what they called flawed process.