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Teachers' union bids to stop ZCTU elective congress unless it is allowed vote

by Staff reporter
26 Oct 2021 at 05:35hrs | Views
A teachers' union has gone to court to stop the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade of Unions' (ZCTU) elective conference starting on Wednesday, unless its members are allowed vote.

The Amalgamated Rural Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) fears there are dirty manoeuvres by government-aligned unions in the labour movement to hijack the ZCTU at the congress running from October  27-29.

ARTUZ, fronted by its fiery president Obert Masaraure, says it was informed that it had lost its voting rights by failing to submit the names of its voting delegates on time.

The urgent application will be heard on Tuesday morning at the Harare High Court.

ARTUZ is joined in the action by the Footwear Tanners and Allied Workers Union of Zimbabwe (FTAWUZ), which was also barred from voting.

ARTUZ and FTAWUZ cited the ZCTU as the respondent.

The two unions argue that they are fully paid-up affiliates of the labour body, and must participate at the congress.

They want the ZCTU "interdicted from proceeding to its general conference… to the exclusion of the applicants, or without the full participation of the applicants, including them exercising their voting rights."

"If the conference goes ahead to the applicants' exclusion, the harm will be irreparable as the violation of rights will have already taken place. The applicants have no other adequate remedy and the balance of probabilities favours granting the interim interdict," the two unions said.

They added: "It appears that the wisest decision in the best interests of the ZCTU and its aims and objectives would be to simply postpone the congress to ensure that all affiliates are in compliance with clause 9.5 of the constitution."

The ZCTU said the two unions failed to comply with section 9.5 of the ZCTU constitution which requires that the names of delegates and current membership be submitted to the secretary-general four months before the congress.

Speaking to ZimLive on Monday, Masaraure blamed their predicament on behind-the-scenes plots to hijack the ZCTU.

"The ZCTU is our home, we only have a couple of unions that are burning the midnight oil to block our participation. We are confident that the majority, which is a team of progressives, will stand with us and push for our voting rights," Masaraure said.

"Remember the liberation struggle was waged to defend the right to vote. We are worried that some of these unions might now be fronting interests of the state. Does the state want to capture ZCTU? We wonder.

"I suspect that those who don't want us to vote are now fronting an anti-worker agenda. They may be sponsored by the state."

A unionist said capturing the ZCTU would pave way for a bigger political agenda of postponing the next general elections due in 2023, which was initiated by the Zanu-PF-aligned MDC-T party, led by Douglas Mwonzora.

"There are bigger things at play which could have massive implications for the broader political environment if they succeed. If that is the plan (to ban elections), it would be extremely useful to have a pliant labour movement to rubber stamp and help them say, ‘see, we engaged in broad inclusive dialogue, we engaged labour, opposition, business, everyone is on board with this idea…'" the unionist said.

Masaraure said "the voice of ARTUZ at the forthcoming conference would help to block such a calamitous takeover."

Source - ZimLive
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