By Leopold Munhende
LABOUR Minister Sekai Nzenza was conspicuous by her absence at labour federation the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)’s Workers’ Day main celebrations in Harare despite an invite.
Nzenza was instead represented by her Ministry’s principal director Langton Ngorima who was booed off-stage as he delivered the Minister’s speech.
The largely partisan crown at Dzivaraswekwa stadium, Harare drowned Ngorima’s address with boos, jeers, whistles of disapproval, gesticulation and shouted ‘ngaende, ngaende’ (he should leave).
Opposition MDC activists made up most of the numbers who clad in the party’s red regalia blended with ZCTU members.
Earlier in the day Nzenza told journalists at a press briefing that she was scheduled to accompany President Emmerson Mnangagwa to Manicaland where he is expected to meet traditional leaders in connection with the Cyclone Idai disaster.
“Today I would have attended but I am on my way to Chipinge, we are preparing to meet chiefs tomorrow,” said Nzenza.
It would have been the first time a Zanu PF Minister attended the Workers Day event planned by the ZCTU in 20 years since the ZCTU helped with the formation of the opposition MDC in 1999.
Government and ruling party officials have largely associated with the largely obscure Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU).
In the speech read on her behalf by Ngorima, Nzenza called on Zimbabweans to celebrate the emancipation of the black worker from the dehumanising colonial era.
“We look back in history and recall the journey that workers have travelled in fighting for social justice and human rights in the world of work.
“While we may take the road travelled for granted, we recall the master and servant relationship that used to characterise the employment relationship in the pre-independence era,” said Nzenza.
Straight after his address Ngorima left in the company of director of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Country Office in Harare, Hopolang Phororo who also addressed the gathering.
Other invited guests who snubbed the event included the ruling Zanu PF party and the Thokozani Khupe led MDC-T.
Chamisa’s deputy Elias Mudzuri, party deputy national chair Tendai Biti, Harare Mayor Herbert Gomba and spokesperson Jacob Mafume attended the event.