STAFF WRITER 29 April 2017 5:44PM
HARARE – The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) – the country’s
biggest labour umbrella body – has claimed that government is approaching
its affiliates to boost numbers at its Workers’ Day commemorations on May
Government plans to host its own ceremony, presided over by the Zanu
PF-aligned Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU).
ZCTU secretary-general Japhet Moyo said some government officials were
“clandestinely approaching our affiliates in Chinhoyi”, inviting them to
This comes after government had officially approached the labour body,
through the Labour ministry, but had been rebuffed by its General Council
– the highest decision-making body outside congress.
“The ZCTU would like to make it clear that it has nothing to do with the
government’s commemoration and is presently preparing for its own events,”
He said government’s invite “was tantamount to interfering with workers’
programmes and also meant to confuse workers of Zimbabwe,” adding “we were
also suspicious of the government’s motive”.
Labour minister Priscah Mupfumira was not available for comment.
The divide between the ZCTU and government widened when the union opposed
attempts by President Mugabe’s administration to introduce a one-party
State in Zimbabwe in the late 1980s following the merger between Zanu PF
and Zapu in 1987.
The relationship was further strained following the introduction of IMF’s
Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (Esap) in 1991.
As the hardships arising from the market-based reforms deepened,
government increasingly resorted to draconian measures to shore up its
waning political support. As issues of governance deteriorated, the ZCTU
increasingly became the torchbearer for alternative governance, then led
by now MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Together with 40 other civil society groups, the ZCTU spearheaded the
formation of MDC, whose top leadership came from the labour movement.
The ZCTU’s main Workers’ Day event will be held at Dzivaresekwa Stadium on