ZCTU invites Chamisa

Peter Mutasa - ZCTU-President

HARARE – The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has invited MDC’s Nelson Chamisa to grace the Workers’ Day celebrations in Harare on Tuesday.

MDC acting spokesperson Thabitha Khumalo told the Daily News yesterday that the ZCTU had invited the MDC and its leader to be part of the celebrations to be held countrywide.

“We were invited by the ZCTU to be part of the celebrations,” she said, adding “we are not surprised by the gesture because this is what the labour body has always done since 1999”.

“What normally happens is that the president of the MDC is given the platform to address the main event in Harare while the rest of the party members can attend celebrations from their respective areas”

The ZCTU gave birth to the MDC when it joined hands with students and business after they were frustrated by the then president Robert Mugabe’s anti-labour policies.

The late Morgan Tsvangirai was the then ZCTU secretary-general when the idea of forming a political party was consummated.

On the issue of contested MDC leadership ZCTU secretary-general Peter Mutasa said: “We have invited political parties that are represented in Parliament because of the huge number of political players. For MDC-T we have written to their office address we have and it’s up to that office to give us names of their officials who will grace our occasion.”

However, sources in the labour body told the Daily News that the ZCTU did not want to associate with Thokozani Khupe – who has split from the Chamisa-led MDC and is fighting for the party’s name and symbol – whom they accuse of “derailing the people’s project”.

“The ZCTU is behind Chamisa despite all the noise that is being made because at the end of the day, whoever leads the opposition must win the presidential elections, if the workers of Zimbabwe and the general populace is to one day taste freedom and that is what we stand for,” a senior official said on condition of anonymity.

To show its support for Chamisa, the source claimed, the ZCTU invited Chamisa to be the speaker at the event to be held at Gwanzura Stadium in the capital.

Khupe, along with former organising secretary and former spokesperson Abednico Bhebhe and Obert Gutu respectively, held their own congress under the MDC banner, where they were elected president, national chairperson and vice president in that order.

This was in the aftermath of a leadership crisis that erupted in the MDC following Tsvangirai’s death in February this year.

Following his death, one of his three deputies, Chamisa, immediately claimed leadership of the 18-year-old labour backed movement on the back of a national council resolution that endorsed him as the MDC presidential candidate.

Chamisa will, however, contest the forthcoming elections under the MDC Alliance banner, a coalition with seven other opposition parties.

But Khupe, who has never welcomed the idea of a coalition insisting it was only necessary in provinces outside Matabeleland, is adamant that she is Tsvangirai’s heir apparent.

She argues that she is the only one of Tsvangirai’s three deputies who was elected at congress while dismissing Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri as having been illegally appointed by the former prime minister.

Tsvangirai appointed both Chamisa and Mudzuri as his other deputies along with Khupe in 2017 citing the need for more helpers owing to his illness induced by cancer of the colon which he eventually succumbed to.

The decision was not taken lightly by Khupe, who felt she was being undermined, leading her to stop attending MDC meetings in Harare as she resisted Tsvangirai’s move to bring back the likes of former secretaries- general Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti, who had broken ranks at various stages in their fight against Zanu PF. – Daily News