Zimbabwe: trade union position on the powersharing deal

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ZCTU statement on powersharing deal

20 September 2008

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has issued the following statement on the powersharing deal between Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF and Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara's two MDC groups. The position of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), which should be read in the context of the ZCTU statement, follows.

ZCTU press statement


The ZCTU General Council today met in Harare to deliberate on the recent signing of the power sharing deal between Zanu PF and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) which was held on September 15, 2008.

After deliberating on the issue and taking a closer look at the deal, the General Council noted that the deal is a far cry from the ZCTU expectations and that it is an outcome of a flawed process.

Instead, the General Council noted, the deal is all about power sharing between Zanu PF and MDC, leaving out primary causes of the dispute which has created the current political and economic impasse currently prevailing in the country.

It also noted that the process used in coming up with the deal was not all-inclusive as the civic society was not given an opportunity to participate.

The exclusion of such critical sectors as labour, the general council noted, and the secretive manner in which issues were discussed, do not give credence to the outcome of the deal.

It then resolved that an all-inclusive dialogue is the only way forward to resolve Zimbabwe's political and economic impasse. Ownership of the dialogue process should rest with the people of Zimbabwe, not just a few politicians, some of them who have been rejected by the electorate.

The General Council also resolved to treat the deal as a 'temporary stop gap measure' because it denies Zimbabweans the right to choose a government of their choice through a democratic process. In all its dealings, the ZCTU said it will treat this arrangement as a temporary measure, capable of dealing with outstanding demands from labour, in the absence of an elected government..

ZCTU continues to advocate for a Neutral Transitional Authority and the drafting of a people driven constitution which will lead the nation into a free and fair democratic election where people will choose their own government. The current temporary arrangement has not created a People's Government.

The General Council further resolved to urgently engage MDC President, Morgan Tsvangirai by Saturday, 27 September, 2008 to directly brief it on the deal.

Wellington Chibebe

ZCTU Secretary General

20 September 2008

COSATU press statement

Zimbabwe agreement

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted the agreement signed by the leaders of the political parties in Zimbabwe on 15 September 2008.

We stand by our view that it is only the people of Zimbabwe who must judge whether or not this deal is in their interests. We are therefore awaiting the comments of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and will be guided by them.

Meanwhile, while awaiting the ZCTU's response, only insofar as the people accept it, we give the agreement our cautious support, but note that many of the demands raised by civil society and supported by COSATU have not been met, including:

  • Civil society has been shut out of the negotiations and it has thus been an agreement between the political leaders;
  • The agreement does not recognise the result of the 29 March elections. As a result the loser has become the winner and the winner the loser;
  • MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai is effectively in charge of a cluster of ministries, while President Mugabe still has extensive powers;
  • The agreement is not for an interim government until new elections have been held but for a normal full-term government;
  • All Mugabe's draconian laws remain in place, which give him, for example, the power to arrest political opponents.

The agreement marks a dangerous spread of the Kenyan virus that sends a signal to dictators that they can defy the will of the people by force and then retain power through negotiations, brokered by other African leaders. It marks a retreat from the principles that the African Union and SADC are supposed to uphold and a return to the bad traditions of the Organisation of African Unity, that sacrificed the interests of the people to protect dictators.

Meanwhile COSATU waits to hear from the ZCTU, after which it will consider their advice as to whether to continue with the proposed programme of boycotts. If they ask us to proceed we shall do so.

Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)

Congress of South African Trade Unions

16 September 2008

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