Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
The Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) has pulled out of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), accusing the umbrella labour representative body of continuously dabbling in opposition politics, undermining the cause of workers.
Zimta’s move will prompt other affiliates to follow suit amid reports that some members are accusing ZCTU of deviating from its mandate of fighting for workers’ rights.
There has been simmering discontent within the rank and file of ZCTU’s membership and affiliates who feel that the labour body was dabbling in partisan politics, in particular recent events where Workers’ Day commemorations, held annually on May 1, were being turned into an MDC-Alliance rally and anti-Government event.
Zimta provincial structures have since conveyed the message to their regional counterparts.
“This note serves to notify you, that a resolution was made at our national annual general conference to withdraw from ZCTU. Following this, we have recalled all our members, hence they will not be able to participate in any ZCTU business,” wrote Zimta Manicaland provincial officer Mr Kudakwashe Mbaura to the ZCTU regional office.
In an interview yesterday, Zimta chief executive officer Mr Sifiso Ndlovu confirmed the development, saying the decision was made by their national executive who noted with concern the continued dabbling in opposition politics by the ZCTU leadership.
Mr Ndlovu said it was also noted that ZCTU was making “major and fundamental decisions with financial implications” unilaterally without consulting affiliates.
“Zimta has been pursuing an ideology of non-partisan political activities. In our view, it would be improper for a teacher who by heart and commitment does not believe in partisan politics to be dragged into opposition politics.
“The decision to pull out was made by our national executive meeting, although it has not been formally communicated,” said Mr Ndlovu.
He said Zimta noted that ZCTU, through its secretary-general Mr Japhet Moyo had been appointed to superintend over the forthcoming MDC-Alliance congress to be held in Gweru, thus compromising the integrity of the labour movement
It was also noted that ZCTU president Mr Peter Mutasa had spoken glowingly about the MDC-Alliance during May Day commemorations early this month.
“We believe that any workers movement that becomes an appendage of a political movement will not survive. It becomes captured and an embodiment of that political party,” said Mr Ndlovu.
“We have a resolution that we will not divide the union on the basis of politics. The other issue is that of governance, lack of transparency in the governance of ZCTU. We cannot be part of an organisation in which we are not consulted when major decisions are being made.”
When contacted, ZCTU secretary general Mr Japhet Moyo said Zimta had not officially conveyed their desire to pull out from the labour movement.
“When they will finally advise us this is what we will tell them, ‘decisions of ZCTU are made by the general council’. Regarding the decision to be one of commissioners to oversee MDC congress, people need to separate issues. It is not ZCTU that is doing it, it is myself as Japhet Moyo. ZCTU last superintend over MDC congress in 2014 and this time around it is not. It is Japhet Moyo who has been appointed as one of commissioners to supervise their congress,” said Mr Moyo.
He said this was not the first time he had been appointed commissioner by the MDC as he was once selected by its founding leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, to investigate intra-party violence that occurred during their 2014 congress in Bulawayo.
“No one raised it as an issue then, including Zimta. It is not a policy issue. Some of the issues we hear Zimta is raising are generalised, we hope to hear in detail from our comrades when we meet them. Organisations have constitutions but people do not read, they will discover some of the things when they are in (sic),” said Mr Moyo.