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Pro-MDC element carries the day at ZCTU congress

The pro-Movement for Democratic Change element of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions took control of the labour movement at its congress when Lovemore Matombo was elected president and Wellington Chibhebhe secretary-general.

There had been fears that the pro-Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front element led by acting secretary-general Isidore Zindoga might win. Zindoga had insisted that the ZCTU should remain non-partisan.

According to a cable dispatched by the United States embassy, Chibhebhe, who took over the most powerful post in the labour movement, was the MDC favourite.

MDC senior advisor Gandi Mudzingwa said Chibhebhe served as the MDC’s secretary of policy and research in 1999 and was directly responsible for formulating many of the party’s policies.

“His election is thus a good sign for continued cooperation or at least ideological support between the ZCTU and the MDC, regardless of the labour organization’s proclaimed neutrality,” the embassy said.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who had been secretary general of the organisation before the formation of the MDC, told the congress that the “ZCTU is the soul of the MDC and if you remove the soul, the party will die”.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 01HARARE846, ZIMBABWE LABOR FEDERATION ELECTS NEW LEADERS,

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE846

2001-02-26 15:03

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

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

 

261503Z Feb 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9323

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00846 261505Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   ACQ-00   CEA-01   CIAE-00 COME-00

CTME-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOTE-00 WHA-00   SRPP-00 DS-00

EB-00   EUR-00   EXIM-01 E-00     FAAE-00 FBIE-00 VC-00

FRB-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   ITC-01   LAB-01

L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01

PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   SSO-00

STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 BBG-00   PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01

DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /013W

——————CA6553 261505Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8296

INFO NSC WASHDC

DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L HARARE 000846

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR JFRAZER

ILAB FOR RSHEPHARD

LONDON FOR CGURNEY

PARIS FOR BWILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

PASS USAID FOR AFR/SD – DWELLER, AFR/SA – CPALMA,

NNEWMAN, AA/AFR – VDICKSON-HORTON

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00846 261505Z

E.O. 12958: DECL 02/26/11

TAGS: ELAB PGOV PHUM PINR ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE LABOR FEDERATION ELECTS NEW LEADERS,

AFFIRMS NON-PARTISAN NATURE

 

REFS: A. HARARE 782, B. HARARE 661, C. HARARE 612,

 

D. HARARE 573, E. HARARE 3680

 

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D’ AFFAIRES EARL M. IRVING FOR

REASONS 1.5 (B/D).

 

1. (U) THE ZIMBABWE CONGRESS OF TRADE UNIONS (ZCTU)

FIVE-YEAR CONGRESS, HELD ON FEBRUARY 23 AND 24, RESULTED

IN THE ELECTION OF A NEW EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AND AN

AFFIRMATION THAT THE FEDERATION IS NON-PARTISAN. ALL

INDICATIONS ARE THAT THE CONGRESS WENT SMOOTHLY, AND

THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE OF AN OVERT EFFORT BY THE

GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE (GOZ) AND ZANU-PF TO DIRECTLY

INFLUENCE EVENTS IN THE CONGRESS AND THE ELECTION OF THE

NEW LEADERSHIP. THE FEBRUARY 26 ISSUE OF THE GOZ-

CONTROLLED “THE HERALD” REPORTED THAT THE NEW PRESIDENT

OF THE ZCTU, LOVEMORE MATAMBO, PROCLAIMED THAT THE LABOR

FEDERATION WAS “NOT ALIGNED TO ANY POLITICAL PARTY” AND

“WILL WORK WITH ANY POLITICIANS WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT

WORKERS’ WELFARE REGARDLESS OF POLITICAL AFFILIATION.”

THIS IS AFTER THE OUTGOING SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE

ZCTU, AND PRESIDENT OF THE OPPOSITION MOVEMENT FOR

DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC), MORGAN TSVANGIRAI, ADDRESSED

THE CONGRESS ON FEBRUARY 24 AND SAID THAT “ZCTU IS THE

SOUL OF THE MDC AND IF YOU REMOVE THE SOUL, THE PARTY

WILL DIE.”

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00846 261505Z

 

2. (U) THE FOLLOWING WERE ELECTED TO KEY POSITIONS IN

THE ZCTU EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE:

 

= WILLARD CHIBHEBHE – SECRETARY-GENERAL

 

= COLLEN GWIYO – FIRST DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL

 

= MIRIAM MUKUTUMA – SECOND SECRETARY-GENERAL

 

= LOVEMORE MATAMBO – PRESIDENT

 

= MATILDA CHEKUDA – TREASURER

 

3. (C) COMMENT: WHILE IT IS STILL TOO EARLY TO DETERMINE

THE LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF THE CONGRESS ON THE

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE ZCTU, THE MDC, AND ZANU-PF, OUR

EARLY READING IS THAT THE PRO-MDC ELEMENT IN THE ZCTU

WAS ABLE TO CARRY THE DAY. WILLARD CHIBHEBHE, WHO WAS

ELECTED SECRETARY-GENERAL, THE MOST POWERFUL POSITION IN

THE EXECUTIVE, WAS MENTIONED TO US BY PRO-MDC LABOR

LEADERS GIFT CHIMANIKIRE AND ISAAC MATONGO PRIOR TO THE

CONGRESS AS ONE OF THEIR PREFERRED CANDIDATES FOR THAT

POSITION. INDEED, ACCORDING TO SENIOR MDC ADVISOR GANDI

MUDZINGWA, CHIBHEBHE SERVED AS THE MDC’S SECRETARY OF

POLICY AND RESEARCH IN 1999 AND IS DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE

FOR FORMULATING MANY OF THE PARTY’S CURRENT POLICIES.

HIS ELECTION IS THUS A GOOD SIGN FOR CONTINUED

COOPERATION OR AT LEAST IDEOLOGICAL SUPPORT BETWEEN THE

ZCTU AND THE MDC, REGARDLESS OF THE LABOR ORGANIZATION’S

PROCLAIMED NEUTRALITY. THE PREVIOUS ACTING SECRETARY-

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00846 261505Z

GENERAL, ISIDORE ZINDOGA, WHO WAS WIDELY BELIEVED TO BE

PRO-ZANU-PF, WAS DEFEATED AND NOW HOLDS NO LEADERSHIP

POSITION IN THE ZCTU. WE WILL BE MEETING IN THE NEAR

TERM WITH OUR LABOR CONTACTS TO GLEAN THE UNION AND

POLITICAL BACKGROUNDS OF THE NEW ZCTU EXECUTIVE. WE

WILL ALSO SEEK A CLEARER READOUT OF WHAT THE WEEKEND’S

VOTE MEANS FOR ZIMBABWE’S WORKERS, AND THE RELATIONSHIP

BETWEEN THE ZCTU, THE OPPOSITION MDC, AND THE RULING

ZANU-PF. END COMMENT.

 

IRVING

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

 

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