ZCTU, MDC threaten fresh protests

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By Idah Mhetu

ZIMBABWE’S main opposition party the MDC and labour federation the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) have both threatened rolling mass action “to bring independence” to the country.

MDC leader Nelson Chamisa told a paltry crowd gathered by the ZCTU to commemorate Workers Day on Wednesday that he has the capacity

“Your problems are our problems. We however have a problem that someone stole something from us but now they are having problems with the loot.
“Every struggle has stages, from demonstrations to stay-aways and the next levels in which we will get if things are not resolved. The Constitution is there, we have peaceful means and we are ready to pursue that,” said Chamisa.

The MDC leader has consistently claimed he was robbed of victory in last year’s presidential election despite a Constitutional Court petition failing dismally for lack of evidence to support his claims of rigging. However, Chamisa while accepting the court verdict argues “the courts have dealt with the legal dispute but this is a political dispute and courts do not adjudicate that.”

“Mnangagwa must be grateful that he has an energetic young man who has capacity to cause ….nightmares for you willing to dialogue. We want genuine dialogue,” said Chamisa.

Government early this week claimed it had unearthed a sinister plot by the opposition, civil society groups and unnamed foreigners to topple Mnangagwa. But Chamisa said the government’s failure to resolve the economic crisis could trigger social upheaval.

“Our coordinator is poverty, our mobiliser is lack of jobs and our stomach is our sponsor. Not this what they say, that we are being sponsored by foreigners. We don’t need a cent from the British,” he said.

Chamisa also rejected government claims that the MDC was behind the January riots.

“The January protests were by the ZCTU we were never part of it. The have accused unionists like (ZCTU president Peter) Mutasa. Mutasa you must reject this nonsense that you wanted to remove the government. Nobody can plot to remove a government that has already been removed,” Chamisa said to applause.

I have told them that we will not be scared. We will push until they honour the people’s vote they stole. I will not allow them to rest.

Mutasa also warned the labour federation could be forced to consult workers and ordinary Zimbabweans to roll out protests.

“If the government continues to ignore the pleas of the workers and citizens, the ZCTU will be left with no option but to mobilize workers for peaceful pickets, demonstrations, general strikes and other actions as provided in the Constitution and Labour Act,” said Mutasa.

Chamisa urged Mutasa to internationalise the Zimbabwean crisis next time the federation calls for protests.

“Mutasa when you plan the next demonstration, let us make an international call to give solidarity to the people of Zimbabwe. Lets invite international labour federations such as Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and International Trade Unions Confederation (ITUC) to come and help the Zimbabwean workers so this country can have freedom and independence,” said Chamisa.

Home Affairs Minister Cain Mathema this week declared government would use brute force to quell any attempts to remove Mnangagwa from power through protests.