The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) leadership under Lovemore Matombo and Wellington Chibebe was “undemocratic, selfish and controlling” and failed to get effective leadership since the departure of Morgan Tsvangirai to join mainstram politics, a top United States diplomat said.
Former US ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee is quoted in a diplomatic cable saying the ZCTU leadership was engaged in “ugly political infighting and power struggles”.
“ZCTU clearly has neglected its own foot soldiers in recent years and engaged in ugly political infighting and power struggles. None of the labour leaders we talked with spoke highly of ZCTU’s leadership since Tsvangirai’s departure. Several leaders we spoke to question whether Matombo and Chibebe are motivated by a desire to help workers or political power and international recognition,” McGee said.
The cable was dispatched in April 2009, two months after Tsvangirai’s MDC-T entered into a power-sharing agreement with Zanu PF and the smaller MDC party.
The ZCTU was at the time led by Matombo (President) and Chibebe (Secretary General). The labour union is now led by George Nkiwane as president and Japhet Moyo (secretary-general). Matombo last week dismissed the claims.
“I would not want to comment on these aspects because I really do not understand why and how the allegations are being labelled against me or the leadership of that time. I am saying so because in the history of my trade union activism, I have never enjoyed peace neither did I enjoy any monetary gain. The people in ZCTU and the staff know that I did not get any monetary gains from the ZCTU.”
However, McGee gave credit to the work done by the labour body over the years.
“As the largest force for workers’ rights in Zimbabwe since independence, the ZCTU has transformed itself from an appendage of the Zanu PF government in the early 1980s, to an opposition force throughout the 1990s,” he reportedly said.