Lovemore Matombo booted out


Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president, Lovemore Matombo.

Alois Vinga
THE Communications and Allied Services Workers’ Union (CASWUZ) has passed a vote of no confidence in former Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president, Lovemore Matombo.
Matombo came under fire from the membership after declining to step down as CASWUZ president when he attained 65 years, the stipulated retirement age.
He also stands accused of abusing his office by making unilateral appointments as well as misusing the union’s funds.
A confidential letter addressed to the Ministry of Labour’s Registrar dated January 8, 2016, states that the vote of no confidence was because the constitution prohibits members who are approaching retirement age from seeking office and since Matombo is 68 years old he is above the retirement age.
After the January 2014 CASWUZ elective congress, Matombo, who was now no longer qualified to continue leading the union, made a special request not be contested against to enable him to iron out his outstanding issues with ZCTU. He then requested for three months more, which was granted.
“After the lapse of the three months, members pushed for a special congress in which Mr L Matombo changed goal posts and indicated that a special congress was going to be held in December 2015. In breach of his promise, Mr L Matombo refused, failed and neglected to pronounce the date for the special congress despite numerous demands from the members,” reads part of the letter.
The union also accuses Matombo of abusing funds in 2013 when the union purchased a Toyota Corona vehicle which, Matombo, together with the general-secretary, Cephas Chizura — who is jointly dismissed with Matombo, he then registered in his name and further proceeded to swop with a Toyota Mark 2 without consent of union members. Matombo is further accused of converting to personal use union commission from TelOne (Pvt) Ltd amounting to US$31 000.
After his dismissal, members appointed Taurai Mereki as the CASWUZ interim president.
Biggie Antonio, the interim executive first vice president, described Matombo’s conduct as discouraging to upcoming trade unionists.
“We are talking about a 68-year old chap who is seasoned in matters of democracy and succession. Matombo begged the union members at the previous congress on the pretext that he could not step down from his post because he had a pending court case against the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions. We do not want to give him a chance to destabilise CASWUZ the way he did when he lost the ZCTU elections. The courts have since cleared the issue and it is time for our long serving cadre to use the exit door,” said Antonio, who also urged all union members, who were reportedly being victimised by Matombo because of the current developments, not to be cowed.
“We have received reports that Matombo is in the process of harassing former executive members who have voted for his ouster. Members should immediately report such cases to the police,” Antonio added.
Contacted for comment, Matombo said: “Such matters are dealt with when we hold the elective congress. However, there are some members who declined to accept the congress position. I will not comment further on the issue.”
The interim president has since written to the Registrar advising her that Matombo was no longer part of CASWUZ. The interim executive will run the affairs of the union for the next three months awaiting a special congress.
Matombo made headlines in 2011 when he disregarded the results of a ZCTU elective congress which booted him out of office.
He challenged the constitutionality of the congress in the courts and lost the case.

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