HomeNewsZanu PF factionalism spills into sugarcane industry

Zanu PF factionalism spills into sugarcane industry


FACTIONALISM in President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF has cascaded down to the lucrative sugarcane industry in the Lowveld where party officials are reportedly fighting for control of the main milling union, the Zimbabwe Sugar Milling Industry Workers’ Union (ZISMIWU).

Tatenda Chitagu

Union president Simbarashe Nyemba and Chiredzi West MP Darlington Chiwa have been involved in public spats over the running of the 12 000-member union, with the MP accusing the executive of not representing the interests of the millers.

Chiwa is believed to belong to a camp aligned to Vice-President Joice Mujuru while Nyemba is said to be sympathetic to a faction loyal to Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The two, who are fighting to strategically position themselves for an eventual takeover of the highest office in the event that Mugabe leaves office or is incapacitated, have, however, publicly denied leading factions.

Chiwa at one time is alleged to have mobilised some workers to give the executive — also comprising of secretary-general Admore Hwarare — a vote-of-no confidence, but it all failed.

This irked the ZISMIWU executive, which has accused the farmer-cum-MP of interfering in their union business when he is not a trade unionist.

Said Nyemba:“We are surprised why Chiwa is poking his nose in union affairs. His intentions are very dubious. We never interfered in his legislative roles and so why should he interfere in our matters and cause instability?

“He is not a trade unionist, instead should focus on looking for funding for infrastructure development, construction of roads and general improvement of the economy.

“Chiwa should leave union business to unionists. He is ungrateful. We helped him get into office and funded his campaigns so he is scared that come the next election he may leave office if we have a different candidate, so he wants to destroy us and the union.”

Called for comment, Chiwa defended his involvement in the union’s matters saying the millers were under his constituency.

“These workers are my employers. They voted me into office so that I serve them. I will therefore not sit back when the union is undermining their interests. I have to intervene,” said Chiwa, who at one time called for the banning of cane workers’ unions in the Lowveld.

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