12 December 2012

Zambia: ZUFIAW Drags Leader to Court

THE Zambia Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers (ZUFIAW) has sought an injunction from the court to restrain its president, Cephas Mukuka from interfering with the general secretary, Joyce Simukoko's duties.

The union argues that Mr Mukuka's conduct is causing confusion and embarrassment to the establishment.

ZUFIAW wants the Lusaka High Court to order Mr Mukuka of Kaunda Square Stage II not to interfere with Ms Simukoko's functions and that his actions were intended at destabilising the union.

The union further wants a declaration that Mr Mukuka's powers as president under its constitution were collective and could only be exercised once there was an appropriate resolution of the national executive council (NEC).

ZUFIAW has contended that Mr Mukuka's letter of November 19 in which he forced Ms Simukoko to go on early retirement was null and void.

This is contained in a statement of claim filed before the principal registry on Friday by ZUFIAW lawyers Simeza, Sangwa and Company.

It stated that ZUFIAW was a trade union duly registered under the Industrial and Labour Relations Act chapter 269 of the Laws of Zambia and that Mr Mukuka was the president of its union currently on suspension on disciplinary grounds.

ZUFIAW said on May 21, last year, during its 12th NEC meeting held in Livingstone and chaired by Mr Mukuka, Ms Simukoko notified the union that she would vacate her position at the end of her term and would not be available for re-election at the next quadrennial conference scheduled for early next year.

And according to the affidavit in support of an interim injunction application filed by ZUFIAW vice-president Chinga Msiska of Parklands, Kitwe, Mr Mukuka, with a view to destabilise the union, has ganged up with disgruntled members of the union and engaged in activities contrary to the interests of the union.

Mr Msiska said Mr Mukuka made a lone decision over Ms Simukoko's retirement.

He stated that her position was an elective one which did not terminate before the conference unless on disciplinary grounds but Ms Simukoko was currently not facing any of such.

"The defendant's action in collusion with some of our disgruntled members who either have been disciplined or are facing disciplinary charges have engaged in activities aimed at destabilising the union and frustrating the preparations for the conference," Mr Msiska said.

He charged that Mr Mukuka's ill conceived actions could be evidenced by his unilateral decision to force Ms Simukoko into retirement by December 10, 2012 without consulting NEC.

He said Mr Mukuka had continued to create divisions in the union by approaching district officials and councillors to side with him and cause confusion in the union.

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