ZCTU Snubs ‘Illegal’ POLAD’s Economic Summit Invite

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By Alois Vinga

THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), an ally of the main opposition MDC, has turned down an invitation to attend the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) Economic Summit saying they cannot associate themselves with an “unconstitutional platform”.

POLAD, a dialogue forum comprising parties whose leaders contested the July 2018 presidential election, was formed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa amid pressure from locals and outsiders for Zimbabwe’s feuding political leaders to come together and find solutions to the national crisis.

The Nelson Chamisa led MDC has snubbed the forum, describing it as an insincere attempt by Mnangagwa to remedy the country’s myriad troubles.

ZCTU, which formed the nucleus of MDC during formation in 1999, has followed suit.

A copy of the letter dated February 11 2020, signed by ZCTU secretary general, Japhet Moyo in response to the summit’s co-convener, Retired Justice Selo Nare’s invitation letter confirms the latest developments.

“The ZCTU would like to thank you for your invitation to our President Peter Mutasa to partake in such important discussions. However, as a matter of principle, we do not support or associate ourselves with a process or platform that is clearly unconstitutional,” Moyo said.

He highlighted that the ZCTU believes POLAD is not an institution recognised at law by the Constitution or any legislation hence its use of national resources in organising and hosting the event was unconstitutional.

“It (POLAD) cannot be allowed to stifle and compete with constitutional institutions that are supposed to be carrying out nonpartisan agendas like those institutions found in Chapter 12 of the national charter.

“Again it cannot be allowed to usurp a function that is legally provided for in the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) Act. 

“The ZCTU holds the view that it borders on corruption that politicians use national resources for political expediency without any legal basis. We will therefore not associate ourselves with an illegal process,” the letter explained.

Moyo added that the workers organ will only attend POLAD when satisfied on the platform’s legitimacy to use of taxpayers’ money when conducting its business.

On February 5 2020, Justice Nare wrote to the ZCTU inviting Mutasa to be a panellist at its forthcoming summit on February 20. The summit was organised by POLAD’s Economic Thematic Committee which aims to capture the views of all stakeholders.

“As a panellist, you are expected to reflect and share your observations. Therefore, in preparation of your presentation, you are expected to indicate and table issues negatively impacting the Zimbabwean economy and make recommendations on how to solve the problem in order to take the Nation forward,” Justice Nare said in his letter.

The event which will be officially opened by President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to take place on February 20 in Harare.