ZCTU endorses Tsvangirai

HARARE - Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has thrown its weight behind Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC in the forthcoming make-or-break harmonised elections.

Addressing the Workers’ Day commemorations at Gwanzura Stadium in Harare yesterday, ZCTU president George Nkiwane urged workers to vote  for the MDC in the elections saying it was a party that advocates for the rights of the working class.

His speech was politically potent, indicating that the workers had to gear themselves up for the upcoming elections, declaring that the ZCTU gave birth to the MDC in 1999.

Tsvangirai was the ZCTU secretary-general before turning to politics. This year’s Workers’ Day theme was “Workers under siege: Organise, unite and fight on.”

While MDC legislators came out in full force, conspicuous by their absence were Zanu PF politicians, as Nkiwane told the gathering that ZCTU had invited every political party in the country to the event.

American civil rights campaigner Reverend Jesse Jackson, who was supposed to address the gathering, did not pitch up amid reports his visit had been hijacked by government officials.

Meetings also scheduled between Jackson and  Zimbabwean civil society groups Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights yesterday were also aborted.

Nkiwane said the workers had the mandate to end the Government of National Unity by voting Tsvangirai to be president in the elections where he squares off with Zanu PF candidate President Robert Mugabe.

“We don’t want another GNU animal and let’s go and vote in huge numbers as workers and we must choose leaders who have the interest of workers at heart,” Nkiwane said.

“We know there are political leaders that are preaching political violence to their supporters. I advise workers that if election campaigning becomes violent, don’t participate as you only need to participate in a free and fair environment without violence.

“The government must respect the rights of the workers and rule of law and governance. When we got our independence in 1980 we thought those who are ruling us were serving us and we started singing songs in praise of them: ‘‘Mauya, mauya comrade, mauya  hamuchadzokera’’. It was a mistake we made as we let them ride the horse continuously and they ran away with it and we did not hold the rope to control it and we should not allow that to happen again.”

Deputy prime minister Thokozani Khupe and Labour minister Paurina Mpariwa both told workers to vote for the MDC in the coming elections.

“Workers must be allowed to participate in politics without fear or favour,” Khupe said.

“As MDC we are accused of selling-out this country to the Western world. This is a false statement because we are asking investors from the Western countries to come and invest in this country so that we can create jobs in the country, open the factories and industries that were closed because of Zanu PF mismanagement. I don’t care for being called a sell-out because I am asking the investors to come and invest in the country.”

The celebrations were attended by thousands of workers who were captivated by musician Leonard Zhakata.

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