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US embassy feared Zindoga might cut off ties between ZCTU and MDC

The United States embassy in Harare was worried that acting secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Isidore Zindoga, who was suspected of being either a member of the Central Intelligence Organisation or the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front might cut off ties between the labour movement and the Movement for Democratic Change if he was elected secretary general.

Zindoga himself did not endear himself to the Americans when he told an embassy official that the ZCTU must keep itself above the political fray by remaining independent of any linkage, or perception of a linkage, with any specific political party.

To make matters worse, he said that the ZCTU congress would address whether a political party leader or executive could be a member of the ZCTU executive council at the same time.

This was viewed by embassy officials as a way of trying to get rid of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and chairman Isaac Matongo who were still on the ZCTU payroll.

Ironically, embassy officials checked Zindoga’s credentials as a trade unionist with an official of the AFL-CIO, the US labour federation which itself has been rumoured for years to be linked to the Central Intelligence Agency.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 01HARARE573, ZIMBABWE LABOR FEDERATION LEADER SEEKS TO SEVER

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE573

2001-01-30 07:38

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.

 

300738Z Jan 01

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9240

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00573 01 OF 02 300741Z

ACTION AF-00

 

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

COME-00 CTME-00 DODE-00 WHA-00   SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00

EUR-00   EXIM-01 E-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 NSCE-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   R-00     PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02

G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00     /013W

——————BD79E5 300741Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8123

INFO DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000573

 

SIPDIS

 

ILAB FOR RSHEPHARD

LONDON FOR CGURNEY

PARIS FOR BWILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

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

NNEWMAN, AA/AFR

 

E.O. 12958: DECL 01/30/11

TAGS: ELAB PREL EAGR PGOV PREL EAID ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE LABOR FEDERATION LEADER SEEKS TO SEVER

LABOR’S TIES TO THE OPPOSITION MDC

 

REF: 00 HARARE 3680

 

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D’ AFFAIRES EARL M. IRVING FOR

REASONS 1.5 (B/D).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: THE ZIMBABWE CONGRESS OF TRADE UNIONS

(ZCTU) WILL HOLD ITS FIVE-YEAR CONGRESS IN FEBRUARY.

THE CONGRESS WILL FOCUS ON ADMINISTRATIVE ISSUES, AND

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL TOPICS. THE ISSUE OF ZCTU TIES TO

THE OPPOSITION MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) WILL

NOT BE A FORMAL AGENDA ITEM, BUT WILL BE INDIRECTLY

RAISED VIA THE PROPOSAL THAT LEADERS OF POLITICAL

PARTIES CANNOT ALSO BE MEMBERS OF THE ZCTU EXECUTIVE

COUNCIL. WE BELIEVE THAT IF THE ACTING SECRETARY-

GENERAL OF THE ZCTU, WHO IS WIDELY CONSIDERED TO BE PRO-

ZANU-PF, IS ELECTED AS SECRETARY-GENERAL, HE WILL SEEK

TO SEVER ALL TIES BETWEEN THE ZCTU AND THE MDC. END

SUMMARY.

 

2. (U) ON JANUARY 10, LABOFF MET WITH THE ACTING

SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE ZCTU, ISIDORE ZINDOGA, TO

 

SIPDIS

DISCUSS THE UPCOMING CONGRESS TO BE HELD FEBRUARY 23-25

IN MASVINGO. THE ZCTU IS AN UMBRELLA LABOR ORGANIZATION

COMPRISING 31 AFFILIATED UNIONS. THE OPPOSITION MDC HAD

ITS ROOTS IN THE ZCTU, AND MUCH OF THE MDC LEADERSHIP

STILL FORMALLY HOLDS POSITIONS IN THE ZCTU.

 

3. (SBU) LABOFF DURING THE MEETING QUERIED ZINDOGA ON

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00573 01 OF 02 300741Z

THE AGENDA OF THE CONGRESS, AND SPECIFICALLY IF THE

CONGRESS WOULD DISCUSS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE ZCTU

AND THE MDC. ZINDOGA STATED THAT THE CONGRESS WAS GOING

TO DEAL PRINCIPALLY WITH UNION ADMINISTRATIVE ISSUES, AS

WELL AS ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL POLICY ISSUES. HE TOLD US

THERE WILL BE FOUR PRINCIPAL AGENDA ITEMS:

 

A) ELECTING THE EXECUTIVE AND GENERAL COUNCILS OF THE

ZCTU FOR THE NEXT FIVE-YEAR PERIOD. THE EXECUTIVE

COUNCIL CONSISTS OF A SECRETARY-GENERAL, TWO ASSISTANT

SECRETARY-GENERALS, FOUR PRESIDENTS, AND A TREASURER.

 

SIPDIS

THE GENERAL COUNCIL INCLUDES THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL AND

TEN OTHER MEMBERS FROM INDIVIDUAL UNIONS. THE GENERAL

COUNCIL IS CONVENED IN LIEU OF A CONGRESS WHENEVER THERE

ARE ACTIONS TO BE VOTED ON THAT THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL

PROPOSES TAKING;

 

B) REVIEWING THE ZCTU’S FINANCIAL BASE WITH THE GOAL OF

ENSURING THAT THE ORGANIZATION WILL HAVE A SOUND

FINANCIAL FOOTING FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS;

 

C) DETERMINING THE ZCTU’S POSITIONS ON ECONOMIC AND

SOCIAL POLICIES, IN ORDER TO PROTECT AND FURTHER WORKERS

INTERESTS;

 

D) FINDING WAYS TO STRENGTHEN THE ZCTU AND ITS

AFFILIATED UNIONS IN THE CONTEXT OF ZIMBABWE’S SEVERE

ECONOMIC DECLINE.

 

4. (SBU) ZINDOGA STATED THAT ONLY UNDER THE LAST AGENDA

ITEM WOULD THE ZCTU’S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE MDC COME UP.

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00573 01 OF 02 300741Z

HE WAS EMPHATIC THAT THERE IS NO LINKAGE BETWEEN THE

ZCTU AND THE MDC, DESPITE THE CENTRAL ROLE THAT THE ZCTU

HAD IN THE FORMATION OF THE MDC. ACCORDING TO ZINDOGA,

A GROUP OF CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS WAS RESPONSIBLE

FOR THE FORMATION OF THE MDC. HE STATED THAT SOME

MEMBERS OF THE ZCTU, INDEPENDENT OF THEIR AFFILIATION

WITH THE ORGANIZATION, BECAME HEAVILY INVOLVED IN THE

MDC. ZINDOGA ADDED THAT THE CONGRESS WILL ADDRESS THIS

PERCEPTION OF A ZCTU CONNECTION TO THE MDC BY DISCUSSING

HOW THE ZCTU CAN BEST STRENGTHEN ITSELF AS AN

INDEPENDENT LABOR ORGANIZATION. ZINDOGA’S OWN VIEW IS

THAT UNION MEMBERS SUPPORT DIFFERENT POLITICAL PARTIES,

THEREFORE, THE ZCTU MUST KEEP ITSELF ABOVE THE POLITICAL

FRAY BY REMAINING INDEPENDENT OF ANY LINKAGE, OR

PERCEPTION OF A LINKAGE, WITH ANY SPECIFIC POLITICAL

PARTY.

 

5. (SBU) ZINDOGA STATED WHEN THE CONGRESS CONSIDERS THE

ELECTION OF THE NEXT EXECUTIVE COUNCIL, IT WILL ALSO

ADDRESS WHETHER A POLITICAL PARTY LEADER OR EXECUTIVE

CAN BE A MEMBER OF THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL AT THE SAME

TIME. HIS OPINION IS THAT THE CONGRESS SHOULD DISALLOW

THIS FOR TWO REASONS: THE ZCTU WISHES TO REMAIN AN

ORGANIZATION INDEPENDENT OF POLITICAL PARTIES AND THEIR

INFLUENCE, AND BEING A MEMBER OF THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL

IS A FULL-TIME RESPONSIBILITY THAT REQUIRES MEMBERS TO

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ9241

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00573 02 OF 02 300741Z

ACTION AF-00

 

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

COME-00 CTME-00 DODE-00 WHA-00  SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00

EUR-00   EXIM-01 E-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 NSCE-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 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00

SAS-00     /013W

——————BD79EB 300741Z /38

R 300738Z JAN 01

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8124

INFO DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 000573

 

SIPDIS

 

ILAB FOR RSHEPHARD

LONDON FOR CGURNEY

PARIS FOR BWILLIAMS

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

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

NNEWMAN, AA/AFR

 

E.O. 12958: DECL 01/30/11

TAGS: ELAB PREL EAGR PGOV PREL EAID ZI

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00573 02 OF 02 300741Z

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE LABOR FEDERATION LEADER SEEKS TO SEVER

LABOR’S TIES TO THE OPPOSITION MDC

 

DEVOTE ALL THEIR ENERGIES TO ZCTU BUSINESS. ZINDOGA

TOLD LABOFF THAT HE WILL BE A CANDIDATE FOR THE POSITION

OF SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE ZCTU. IF ELECTED, HE STATED

HE WOULD WORK FOR A SOCIAL CONTRACT BETWEEN THE

GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE (GOZ), LABOR AND BUSINESS IN

ORDER TO STABILIZE PRICES AND WAGES, AND TO AID IN

NATIONAL ECONOMIC RECOVERY WHILE ALSO DEVELOPING

NATIONAL UNEMPLOYMENT AND HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS.

 

6. (C) ZINDOGA HAS LEGITIMATE UNION CREDENTIALS HAVING

BEEN INVOLVED IN UNION ORGANIZING AND MANAGEMENT HIS

ENTIRE PROFESSIONAL LIFE. IN ADDITION TO BEING ACTING

SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE ZCTU, HE IS SECRETARY-GENERAL

 

SIPDIS

OF THE ZIMBABWE LEATHER WORKERS UNION. HE TOLD LABOFF

THAT HE IS NOT PARTICULARLY CONCERNED WHETHER HE WILL BE

ELECTED SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE ZCTU, DUE TO HIS

POSITION WITH THE LEATHER WORKERS UNION. GEBRE

GEBREMARIAM, THE AMCIT REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE

AFL-CIO SOLIDARITY CENTER HERE IN HARARE, TOLD LABOFF HE

BELIEVES THAT ZINDOGA IS CLEARLY PRO-ZANU-PF, BUT THAT

HE ALSO HAS THE ZCTU’S AND AFFILIATED UNIONS’ INTERESTS

AT HEART.

 

6. (C) COMMENT: ALTHOUGH ALLEGATIONS HAVE BEEN

REPEATEDLY RAISED THAT ZINDOGA IS PRO-ZANU-PF OR A

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE ORGANIZATION (CIO) PLANT (DISCUSSED

REFTEL), HE PRESENTS A CONVINCING IMAGE AS A CONCERNED

TRADE UNIONIST AND DOES NOT COME ACROSS AS A RULING

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00573 02 OF 02 300741Z

PARTY HACK. HOWEVER, ZINDOGA’S INSISTENCE THAT THERE IS

NO LINKAGE OF ANY KIND BETWEEN ZCTU AND THE MDC IS

HARDLY TENABLE, AS THE OPPOSITION PARTY DEFINITELY HAD

ITS ROOTS IN THE ZCTU, AND COUNTS ON THE LABOR

FEDERATIONS STRUCTURES AND THE SUPPORT OF ITS MOSTLY-

URBAN, FORMALLY-EMPLOYED MEMBERSHIP.

 

7. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED: THE CONGRESS AGENDA ITEM

STATING THAT MEMBERS OF THE ZCTU EXECUTIVE COUNCIL

CANNOT BE IN LEADERSHIP POSITIONS OF POLITICAL PARTIES

IS CLEARLY AIMED AT REMOVING MDC LEADERS SUCH AS MORGAN

TSVANGIRAI (PRESIDENT OF THE MDC WHO IS ON PAID LEAVE AS

 

SIPDIS

THE ZCTU SECRETARY-GENERAL) AND ISAAC MATONGO (NATIONAL

CHAIRMAN OF THE MDC AND AN ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE ZCTU)

FROM THE ZCTU LEADERSHIP. WE STRONGLY SUSPECT THAT

ZINDOGA MAY BE DOING THE BIDDING OF ZANU-PF IN HIS

CURRENT POSITION, WHICH WOULD BE GLAD TO SEE THE TIES

BETWEEN THE ZCTU AND THE MDC SEVERED. IF ZINDOGA IS

ELECTED SECRETARY-GENERAL AND SUCCEEDS AT SEVERING THE

TIES, IT WOULD BE A SEVERE BLOW TO THE MDC’S

ORGANIZATIONAL STRENGTH, AND ITS ABILITY TO MOUNT A

NATIONAL CAMPAIGN IN THE 2002 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.

END COMMENT.

 

IRVING

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

(18 VIEWS)

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