By Leopold Munhende – Chief Reporter
ZANU PF and the MDC-T have set their sight on taking over control of the firebrand workers’ group, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) at its elective congress set for this Friday, NewZimbabwe.com has learnt.
For over three decades, the labour union, at one time led by the late Morgan Tsvangirai as its secretary-general, has been a thorn in the flesh of the ruling party, Zanu PF.
However, reports that Zanu PF through President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s close ally, Kudakwashe Tagwirei’s Sakunda Holdings, has poured $30 million for delegates attending the already tense congress to be held in Harare.
Zanu PF and the Douglas Mwonzora led MDC-T have both endorsed the presidential candidature of National Energy Workers Union (NEWUZ) leader and outgoing ZCTU second secretary-general Thomas Masvingwe who presided over the MDC-T’s December controversial congress that elected Mwonzora as president.
Through NEWUZ, Masvingwe has close relations with Sakunda, an affiliate member in the energy workers’ union.
Masvingwe wants to elbow out the current ZCTU president, Peter Mutasa.
Mutasa is a vocal critic of the Zanu PF government and his close proximity to Nelson Chamisa and the opposition MDC Alliance has unsettled the Mnangagwa administration.
The ZCTU president, labour secretary-general Japhet Moyo and other senior union leaders have in recent years been arrested and remanded in prison on charges of staging anti-government protests.
In a related development, Runesu Chipamaunga, the secretary-general of the Railway Engineers Union (REU) is said to be part of Masvingwe’s faction and has been promised the second vice president’s post of the ZCTU.
“This is a clear case of stealing the MDC Alliance base and handing it over to Mwonzora who is backed by Zanu PF, genuine trade unions must stop this,” a source, who declined to be named, said.
“It is obvious Masvingwe will attempt to sever the relationship between the MDC Alliance and establish new links with the MDC-T whose congress he presided over proudly last year.
“It is also disquieting that Zanu PF stalwarts like Marvelous Tawomera have taken over the youth sector and are already angling for top posts.
“We know of the $30 million and the $30 000 being given to everyone who will vote for Florence Taruvinga and Masvingwe.”
Taruvinga is reported to be eyeing a post in the new executive while Tawomera is a known Zanu PF member who campaigned for the ruling party in 2013 and 2018.
ZCTU birthed the main opposition MDC in 1999.
Other prominent trade unionists who formed the MDC with Tsvangirai in 1999 are; the late Gibson Sibanda, current MDC-T Vice President Thokozani Khupe, the late Getrude Mtombeni, the late Isaac Matongo, Gift Chimanikire, a senior official in the MDC-T, and Lucia Matibenga.
Efforts by NewZimbabwe.com to get comments from Tagwerei, Masvingwe, and other contesting candidates were unsuccessful.
The ZCTU elective congress is being held under the theme; “ We are at Crossroads! Unite, Fight Neoliberalism, Repression and Austerity”.