RE: MAJONGWE & MATOMBO GROUP FIGHTING A LOSING BATTLE
This statement serves to dispel the negative impression and confusion that has been created by some disgruntled individuals emanating from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions 7th national Congress that was held in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe on 19 and 20 August 2011. Issues of legitimacy of the Congress have been raised with the former ZCTU President Lovemore Matombo, Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) General Secretary Raymond Majongwe, Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) General Secretary George Nasho Wilson, Zimbabwe Energy Workers’ Union (ZEWU) President Angeline Chitambo going to town about the ‘illegitimacy’ of the congress that was held.
The ZCTU would like to set the record straight as follows:
The Congress that took place in Bulawayo on 19 and 20 August 2011 was a legitimate process in terms of the ZCTU Constitution and the dates were set by the General Council. The legitimacy of the Congress was again also confirmed by the fact that the application to stop the Congress by Raymond Majongwe and his group was thrown out by the High Court. The same group later made an appeal at the same court which was dismissed with costs.
Preparations for the Congress started at the beginning of 2011 and General Council was kept well informed of progress as early as April 16 2011. All the ZCTU General Council meetings were chaired by the President, who at the time was Lovemore Matombo. Subsequent meetings of the General Council discussed issues to do with Congress and, for the record, Mr Matombo was chairing all these meetings and there was consensus at all these meetings, including the final meeting of August 13 2011.
Initially, the accusations were that the ZCTU Secretariat had doctored the Constitution by putting a clause that stipulates two-term(s) limit for the elected leadership except the secretariat, in order to disqualify Lovemore Matombo from contesting in the 2011 Congress. This was despite the fact that the said ‘smuggled’ constitutional amendment was done at the 1995 Congress in Mutare. The then leadership of the ZCTU did not incorporate the amendment and they were rebuked at the 2001 Congress in Masvingo. The 2001 Congress mandated the elected leadership to incorporate the amendments into the constitution and this was done and the amended constitution was adopted at 2006 Congress. However, in the spirit of unity, the General Council, at its 30thJully 2011 preparatory meeting agreed to waive the provision and agreed that the provision was to be deemed to have commenced in 2006.This was meant to allow everyone, including Cde Matombo to stand in this year’s Congress, in the spirit of togetherness.
The 30th of July 2011 General Council meeting resolved that nominations for the elected positions (5) should be submitted by 4.30pm on 4 August 2011. When the nomination dates closed, some of the aspiring candidates, including Raymond Majongwe, had not received a single nomination. Once again, in the spirit of unity, the General Council of 13 August 2011, chaired by Cde Matombo agreed to accept their late nominations. When nominations were opened for consideration it became clear that the Cde Matombo’s group members had received very few nominations, with some receiving none. By way of example, George Nkiwane was nominated by 18 big unions, against Cde Matombo’s nomination by 4very small unions, with a combined delegates figure of 9, out of a total congress figure +/- 235delegates, for the post of President. It was apparent from the nomination papers that the group members did not enjoy the support they purported to have hence we strongly suspect that this influenced their decision to eventually boycott the congress.
It must be noted that on August 15 2011, the ZCTU was served with papers filed by Majongwe and others in a bid to stop the Congress. The papers were stamped 12 August 2011 and clearly showed that while Matombo was chairing the 13 August meeting, he must have been reasonably aware that the group had already approach the courts. However, ZCTU filed opposing papers and the matter was deemed not urgent by the High Court as applicants knew “as way back as April 16 of the actual dates and venue of the Congress”.
Majongwe and his group made an appeal and the matter was dismissed again, this time with costs, on higher scale, by High Court judge Susan Mavangira, this translated to giving the General Council the green light to proceed with the Congress and so the Congress went ahead as planned.
When it became apparent that Cde Matombo was not going to attend the Congress an urgent special General Council meeting was held on the night of 18 August 2011 whereby Lucia Matibenga as the 1st Vice President, and in terms of the Constitution, clause 12.2 was mandated( by 22 affiliates present) to chair Congress. (Attached herein, is the communiqué of the General Council mandating Matibenga to chair the Congress)
Zimbabwe Construction and Allied Workers’ Union, Transport and General Workers’ Union and Zimbabwe Education, Scientific and Social Workers Union were some of the unions who were alleged to be working with Majongwe but these have since distanced themselves from this grouping and they have put that in writing.(Please find attached correspondence from same)
Matombos’ union, Communications and Allied Services Workers’ Union (CASWUZ) participated in the Congress right through to the elections. Majongwe’s union PTUZ was not eligible to participate in the Congress as the union was in arrears. ZEWU was in good standing but did not pitch up but since Chitambo had been nominated she was considered to be in the race for the post of 1st Vice President.
The group raises the issue that the current ZCTU President George Nkiwane could not have been elected as his union ZEWU was not at the Congress. This shows ignorance of what the ZCTU constitution says. As part of the outgoing Executive, Nkiwane was eligible to stand for any post whether his union was present or not. Section 9 clause 9.6 of the ZCTU Constitution states:
“Officers of the congress shall be full delegates of the congress, entitled to all the rights ad priviledges of member delegates. They shall attend the Conference in that capacity and shall not be delegates of any affiliate trade union.”
For the record, the results of the Congress, including figures scored by each individual are as follows:
President: 1st Vice President
George Nkiwane – 160 votes Sithokozile Siwela – 161 votes
Lovemore Matombo – 2 votes Angeline Chitambo- 2 votes
Spoiled votes – 3 Spoiled votes – 2
2nd Vice President 3rd Vice President
R. Chigwagwa – 149 votes Lucia Matibenga – 145 votes
M.T Mahlangu – 15 votes M.T Mahlangu – 20 votes
T. Khumalo – 0 votes
Secretary General 1st Deputy Secretary General
Japhet Moyo – unopposed Gideon Shoko – unopposed
2nd Deputy Secretary General Treasurer General
U.D Tarusenga – 125 votes S. Kuveya – 32 votes
J. Tanyanyiwa – 37 votes B. Mujuru – 6 votes
Spoiled votes – 2 E. Mahari - 126
The bonafide Commercial Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe led by Lucia Matibenga is affiliated to ZCTU. The issue of the split of the Commercial Workers Union of Zimbabwe is a complex matter that was deliberated on by the ZCTU General Council and a decision was made by all ZCTU affiliates, including Majongwe and Matombo as members of the General Council, on 21 June 2008, that the ZCTU stands by Matibenga/March Makanya led executive. The issue of Cde Matibenga’s ‘dabbling’ in politics is neither here nor there; it is not an issue at all. The faction of CWUZ that Majongwe and Matombo are working with has its leader, JoubertMudzumwe,as Chairperson of the MDC Mutambara faction. So as far as ZCTU is concerned and in terms of the ZCTU and the Constitution of the country, this is not an issue at all.
It is also important to note that Majongwe’s bid to veto some unions from participating at the Congress, that is, Pulp and Paper Workers’ Union, CWUZ and Food Federation and Allied Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe was voted against by General Council 23 – 4, during the 30 July 2011 meeting. This was a blow to the group and in particular CdeMatombo who was in the chair and at the same time had sponsored Majongwe’s idea. Pulp and Paper Workers’ Union subsequently did not attend the Congress as it was in arrears.
Consequently, the claims by this group are illegitimate just as the leaders of the group are. So far we have established that PTUZ, ZEWU, CSEA, Zimbabwe Graphical Workers’ Union (ZGWU), Zimbabwe Leather, Shoe and Allied Workers’ Union (ZLSAWU), Zimbabwe Rural District Council Workers’ Union (ZRDCWU), and National Airways Workers’ Union (NAWU) are the ones claiming to be disgruntled. As stated earlier Matombo’s union participated at the Congress right through to the elections.
Some of the unions like ZGWU, CSEA, and ZRDCWU have not been participating in ZCTU activities for the past two years because of none payment of subscriptions. CSEA and ZRDCWU had their subs paid by Public Service International a few weeks before Congress and immediately started accusing ZCTU of maladministration when they had not been active in ZCTU activities. It is on record that some of these unions have not held any congress since their inception and cannot therefore lecture the ZCTU on what to do.
The group has now gone a step further to try and freeze ZCTU assets and accounts by approaching the Courts. The matter is now pending before the courts. We are in possession of e-mails (as per attached) from PSI and UNISON that have been discussing this matter with Majongwe and his group. In the e-mails the PSI and UNISON are talking about issues of mediation between ZCTU and Majongwe’s group but ZCTU does not see this as necessary because a Congress was held on 19 and 20 August 2011 and a new leadership mandated to run the affairs of the ZCTU until the next Congress and we will not be tempted legitimize Majongwe’s group by giving them audience.
The colleagues can take their case anyway, but in our view, the fact remains that a Congress was held and that resolving the matter in any other way before the courts have pronounced a decision will be a traverse of justice. The colleagues should have chosen the route of mediation first instead of dragging the ZCTU to court. The ZCTU is currently pursuing legal recourse to stop Cde Matombo from using the ZCTU logo and forged letterheads bearing the logo.
The ZCTU is concerned by the meddling of the international funding partners (as per attached e-mails) in ZCTU affairs. It will be unfortunate if, indeed, a third hand is responsible for this state of affairs within ZCTU. We are also taken aback when some international partners openly circulate e-mails which seem to denigrate reputable trade union organizations like the ITUC, SATUC and COSATU.
Lastly, the ZCTU is saddened by the manner in which Matombo has chosen to exit the labour movement after all the years we have been together. The ZCTU had even gone out of its way and resolved to compensate him his lost salary, following his dismissal from work in January 2004.This arrangement has been in place for the past seven years despite resistance from some affiliates who felt that this was not necessary. We are persuaded to think that Cde Matombo’s fight against the congress outcome is being motivated by the perceived loss of an income, that is, in the form of compensation for lost salary, which has been in place for the last 7 years, monthly allowance, air time, fuel and a car which have been in place for past 10 years.
It is very unfortunate that the same Matombo who has been on the forefront castigating leaders who hang onto power for far too long is now doing exactly that and refusing to go despite losing the election. It is indeed a sad chapter in the history of the labour movement, but the ZCTU secretariat and the General Council stand guided by the ZCTU Constitution and the outcome of the 19 and 20 August 2011 ZCTU Congress.