Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) Kuwadzana Member of Parliament, Nelson Chamisa, has crossed paths with officials from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) over his involvement in the Zuva Petroleum Supreme Court case, whose determination has worsened the plight of workers.
Chamisa assisted advocate Thabani Mpofu in the case, which has given employers a lot of leverage in dismissing their employees without having to worry about payment of severance packages.
Infuriated ZCTU officials are now calling for the charismatic legislator to resign from the labour backed MDC-T party led by Morgan Tsvangirai, saying he betrayed the same workers who had raised him to be where he is now.
In the case in question, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Zuva Petroleum, in a judgment that has triggered mass job terminations, which have so far affected over 6 000 workers.
ZCTU North Eastern Region chairperson, Jokoniah Mawopa, said Chamisa had become a misfit in the MDC-T as he had gone against the values of the party.
“Chamisa has become a square peg in a round hole. He is no longer relevant in the workers’ struggle, so the best he can do is to resign from the MDC-T and go where he can be useful. He can either join ZANU-PF or the employers. We have programmes that we do together with the MDC-T and you cannot expect me to be comfortable marching together with him because I don’t trust him anymore,” Mawopa said.
Central Region chairperson, Martin Tazvivinga, echoed Mawopa’s sentiments, saying Chamisa had “proved beyond any reasonable doubt” that he hated workers and therefore should immediately resign from the party.
“My thinking is that Chamisa should just do the honourable thing and resign from the MDC because that party was formed by workers to represent their interests. He has shown that he hates workers, therefore there is no way we can work with him because we expect MDC-T legislators to stand by workers,” Tazvivinga said.
National Union of Metal and Allied Workers Union of Zimbabwe (NUMAIZ) secretary general, Henry Tarumbira, said Chamisa was forgetting where he came from.
“We are saying he is forgetting where he came from. He is one person who has never been to industry, who just came straight from university to join the party. We had hoped that he would be our future but now he is betraying the same people who uplifted him. The best he can do for himself, and for us all, is to resign from the party,” he said.
Yesterday, Chamisa stood his ground, saying he would not be dragged into an ideological argument.
He said the MDC-T belonged to everyone — workers and employers included.
He argued: “I am not the MDC-T. I am a lawyer and Kuwadzana Member of Parliament and you have to know when to ask me questions pertaining to both. MDC-T is owned by the people of Zimbabwe who include students, workers and even people who own businesses.
I don’t want to be drawn into false ideological arguments. It is wrong to say the MDC-T belongs to one section of our society. The issue is how do we fight for the working class struggle?
Let’s ensure that we do not have laws that can be manipulated. Instead of debating the lawyer, let us debate the law; let us not settle scores, but the worker’s issues. With or without Chamisa, the law will not change and has not been changed. Chamisa is neither a judge nor the government. That is where all progressive voices must turn their relief.”
Despite his attempts to wriggle out of the imbroglio, the ZCTU’s Eastern Region chairperson, Francisca Gurure, said it was painful that someone like Chamisa could condemn workers to poverty when he was expected to be at the forefront of defending their rights.
“Chamisa should have realised that he is from a labour backed party and recuse himself from the case. This is not the first time he has done this. If we had the power as ZCTU to recall him, we would have done that immediately because he is working against labour. We can’t work with him,” she said.
ZCTU secretary general, Japhet Moyo, pointed out that while the ZCTU had no power to recall Chamisa from the MDC-T, the Kuwadzana legislator should do self-introspection and make the right choice for himself and the party.
He said it was mind-boggling that Chamisa had defended capital interests in court against the poor but still wanted to seek political office using social movements where the majority working class voted for him to take that position.
“To me there is some sort of contradiction that you belong to a political party which claims to be a social movement, which claims to represent the poor, which claims to have been born from the working class, whose membership is mostly the working class and on the other hand you are seen to be protecting the neo-liberals, the capitalists; to me it’s a contradiction,” said Moyo adding that anybody who believed in values and had beliefs would not have acted the way Chamisa did.
“I never invited Chamisa to join the MDC-T in the first place so whether he resigns or not is his decision; we are merely exposing his unprincipled views so it is up to him to introspect and say: Do I dine with the devil or I belong to that category of people, therefore I should not be seen to be associating with the poor working class. So he has to make a choice on his own.