The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: ZCTU Lays Into MDC-T

ZCTU says MDC-T's ministers and policy failures are at variance with the needs of workers the party claims are its bedrock, while a Church minister has accused the party of behaving like employers.

While giving a solidarity message at the launch of MDC-T's policy conference in Harare yesterday, ZCTU secretary-general Mr Japhet Moyo -- who holds the same post MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai held before abandoning workers for politics -- blasted the MDC-T component of Government for being vague on policy and arrogant in approach to the needs of workers.

First in Mr Japhet Moyo's cross-hairs was MDC-T deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma, who is Energy and Power Development Minister, whom he rapped for refusing to sign an accord between energy workers and their employers before turning his guns on party secretary-general Tendai Biti, who is finance minister, whom he berated for reckless utterances.

"Let me be very clear Cde Tendai Biti, mind your language when you are in government because hausati wavakutonga. Ndizvoka? Be very careful of what you say. You are destroying the party uchiti urikupleaser mainvestors," Moyo thundered.

"Vanhu vanovhota are the poor, not the investor. Mind your language Mr Biti. How do we defend an MDC minister? At least you (Biti) dialogue with workers."

Turning to Public Service Minister Lucia Matibenga who has refused to entertain worker representatives on a number of occasions, Mr Moyo pleaded with her to give workers an ear.

"Mai Matibenga, kumacivil servants uko. Talk to those people (civil servants). Please, please, please! You put us in a difficult and awkward situation to justify the close links that we have colleagues. Ndizvo ka?" Mr Moyo said.

A visibly angry Biti refused to shake Mr Moyo's hands when the latter offered it as he gave handshakes to the MDC-T top leadership that sat near the podium.

The MDC-T policy conference has been touted as a jobs and investment showcase and Mr Moyo's incisive comments, observers said, exposed the indaba for the charade that it is.

Analysts have, in recent times, questioned MDC-T's claim that it seeks to create jobs and invite investment, saying for the four years the party has been in Government it had not created any jobs nor brought a single investment into Zimbabwe as the inclusive Government subsisted on Zanu-PF policies.

MDC-T's ambivalence on the issue of economic sanctions that depressed the economy, spawning factory closures and job losses has also been cited as the elephant in the room at the policy conference.

Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader Dr Simba Makoni recently laid into the MDC-T leadership for not bringing anything to the inclusive Government saying Zimbabwe was running on Zanu-PF policies, while the MDC formations concentrated on corruption and grandstanding.

"Where are the new policies of the inclusive Government that came from the MDC component of it? As I read it, practically, every major policy and programme we have implemented in the last four years can be traced back to Zanu-PF. So where is the contribution of the non-Zanu-PF members of the inclusive Government? I would like to be educated on that," Dr Makoni asked.

Bishop Ancelmo Magaya of Grace Ablaze Ministries, who took the podium after Mr Moyo, accused the MDC-T leadership of behaving like employers while Zanu-PF took the role of worker advocacy.

"For us to lead people effectively let us be clear on our vision. There has to be clarity of vision. I want to thank my brother (Mr Moyo) that has spoken right now - clarity even with regards to our people centred policies.

"We were discussing with honourable (Mr Nelson) Chamisa where I was just reminding them that do not be more catholic than the Pope himself. I do not think it is prudent and wise for MDC particularly in this inclusive Government to be acting as an employer and Zanu-PF as workers committee. Naturally, people get closer to the workers committee than the employer.

"Policy clarity and policy vision is important. Secondly, there has got to be communicability. The bible says write the vision upon the tablet of stone meaning that everybody should read the vision and be very clear. Allow people to know where we are going," he said.

Over past four years, worker representatives ended up appealing to President Mugabe after finding no joy from MDC-T ministers who head the Labour and Social Welfare, as well as Public Service ministries.

Zanu-PF has launched 59 community share ownership schemes, and numerous employee ownership trusts that gave workers a reason to smile as part of its indigenisation and economic empowerment policies.

MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai admitted that his party at times wasted time on issues that do not improve the welfare of the people.

"Sometimes we are all pre-occupied with what is wrong but we do not spend time to provide what is right," he said.

He tried to defend his party saying it had a clear vision for the people. Mr Tsvangirai said MDC - T could not have survived for 14 years if it did not have a clear policy.

To underline the gulf between workers and the MDC-T leadership, the MDC-T policy conference was a show of opulence as delegates arrived in Milton Park in gleaming top of the range SUVs, Land Cruisers, Range and Land Rovers, Mercedes Benzes, and BMWs. And over lunch wine and spirits flowed like they were going out of fashion with tables groaned with the ample buffet.

Of the US$216 821.80 budgeted for the policy conference, US$ 111 752.30 was gobbled by accommodation for the 1000 delegates, catering, and entertainment.

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