New Zimbabwe (London)

26 April 2014

Zimbabwe: War Vets Seek Mugabe Help After Zesa Dismissal

AT least 50 war veterans who are former contract workers of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) have sought the intervention of President Robert Mugabe after the power utility allegedly stopped renewing their contracts.

The war veterans, who have served ZESA as security officers since 2008, told NewZimbabwe.com Friday they have served long enough to enjoy the same privileges with those of full time employees.

They also alleged political victimisation by the power company.

On Friday, they wrote to the President's Office asking for Mugabe's intervention into the dispute.

The letter was copied to the Commander of the Defence Forces, General Constantine Chiwenga and ZANU (PF) National Chairperson Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo.

The war veterans claimed that they were employed by ZESA as security officers in June 2008 on contract basis.

Since then, they said, they were being made to renew their contracts every three months.

They also claimed they had agreed with the beleaguered company that they would be retired on attaining the ages of 60.

"What we have realised is that the company is engaging other private companies which are giving the company bosses some kickbacks," said Davison Manhenda, a representative of the group.

"We strongly believe that this is politically motivated and that is the reason why we have written to the President."

Another member of the group said, "It is ZESA which approached us for our services in 2008 when the company had realised that the security companies they were having then were ineffective. Now they have realised that we have brought sanity to the company, they want to expel us."

"I have two children who are at the University of Zimbabwe and if they retire me, where will I get the money for fees," asked a worried female member of the group.

Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions Harare Provincial chairperson, Justice Chinhema said the move taken by ZESA was unlawful.

"We are challenging the termination of their contract because it is unlawful basing on the Labour Act which says if one works for four weeks in four consecutive months, he automatically becomes a permanent employee of that company and the continued signing of employment contracts they were doing is a breach of the labour laws," he said.

ZESA spokesperson, Fullard Gwasira's mobile phone went on unanswered when attempts were made to seek comment from him.

Since they successfully pressured President Mugabe's government to award them Z$50 000 gratuities 1997, a large section of Zimbabwe's former liberators has been accused of using militant methods to get what they required.

Led by self-styled leader Joseph Chinotimba, the group has in the past invaded courts and companies demanding the resignation of certain judges and the forceful takeover of companies.

However, there remains another section of the group that has stayed clean from the skirmishes.

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