Matibenga ousted


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Commercial Workers Union of Zimbabwe president Lucia Matibenga who was also first vice-president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions was ousted as president of CWUZ but she said the coup had been carried out by three staff members who had been fired for financial malfeasance and Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front activists.

Matibenga and the general secretary of CWUZ Edwell Taringa said they had a court injunction to prevent the “new” leadership from conducting any business.

Taringa said the new leadership wanted to leave the ZCTU to join the rival “government-sponsored” Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions.

This was going to be a major blow to the ZCTU as the CWUZ was the largest affiliate of the ZCTU, and with 41 000 members it was larger than the next five largest unions combined.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 05HARARE703, GOZ RAIDS ZCTU OFFICES

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

05HARARE703

2005-05-16 15:07

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

161507Z May 05

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000703

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE PASS USAID FOR MARJORIE COPSON

AF/S FOR D. MOZENA, B. NEULING

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVILLE

USDOC FOR ROBERT TELCHIN

TREASURY FOR OREN WYCHE-SHAW

USTR FOR FLORIZELLE LISER

US MISSION GENEVA FOR JOHN CHAMBERLIN

USDOL FOR ROBERT YOUNG

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2009

TAGS: ELAB PGOV ECON PHUM ZI ZCTU

SUBJECT: GOZ RAIDS ZCTU OFFICES

 

 

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher W. Dell for reason 1.4 (b) and (d

)

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: Zimbabwean police raided Zimbabwe Congress

of Trade Unions (ZCTU) offices on May 13, removing files and

small amounts of foreign currency. A renegade element of the

Commercial Workers, Union of Zimbabwe (CWUZ) voted out ZCTU

Vice President Lucia Matibenga as the union’s President, a

move that would strip her of eligibility as ZCTU Vice

President. She dismissed the move as illegal, however, and

told the Embassy that a court order already enjoined the

rogue element from further action. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (C) ZCTU General Secretary Wellington Chibebe on May 16

confirmed to Econoff media reports that 18 Zimbabwe Republic

Police (ZRP) officers raided ZCTU headquarters on May 13.

Solidarity Center Representative Fisseha Tekie told the

Embassy the same day that the ZRP took files from several

ZCTU departments along with US$30 cash and some Euros.

Chibebe alleged that the GOZ wanted to arrest the current

ZCTU leadership and send a more sympathetic labor delegation

to the June International Labor Organization (ILO) conference

in Geneva. However, so far no arrests of ZCTU leadership

have been reported.

 

3. (C) In a related development, the GOZ-controlled Herald

reported on May 16 that the Commercial Workers, Union of

Zimbabwe (CWUZ) over the weekend removed ZCTU 1st

Vice-President Lucia Matibenga as its President and installed

new leadership. (N.B. if true, according to ZCTU rules,

Matibenga could no longer be ZCTU 1st Vice-President.)

However, Matibenga told Econoff May 16 that three CWUZ staff

members under suspension for financial malfeasance along with

ZANU-PF activists had broken into CWUZ offices and elected a

new leadership without a quorum and with non-union members

voting.

 

4. (C) Matibenga and CWUZ General Secretary Edwell Taringa

both stated that they had a court injunction to prevent the

&new8 CWUZ leadership from conducting union business.

Taringa speculated that the &new8 leadership would attempt

to leave the ZCTU and join the GOZ-sponsored Zimbabwe

Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU). As the ZCTU,s largest

union (its 41,100 membership is as large as the next five

largest unions combined), this would prove a major blow to

the ZCTU. However, Taringa was confident that the workers

would rather disassociate themselves from CWUZ than join ZFTU.

 

5. (C) Comment: The GOZ is subjecting ZCTU to a tried and

true tactic that has been quite successful against other

regime critics ) disabling it through a comprehensive

campaign of harassment. Even if Chibebe, Matibenga and

others successfully resist efforts to dislodge them, their

absorption with defending themselves leaves the union little

energy for other objectives.   The ILO meetings in Geneva

next month will offer an important opportunity to muster

international support for ZCTU, especially from COSATU.

DELL

 

(50 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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