By Tafirenyika Nemadire
Masvingo, 09 December, 2013-The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) much anticipated congress ended here Monday with Michael Chideme of The Herald newspaper being voted as the union’s leader on a substantive basis.
Chideme garnered 20 votes against Perfect Hlongwani, a broadcaster at Zifm radio station, who scored 19 votes. Chideme takes over from Dumisani Sibanda, who was elected as ZUJ’s leader in Bulawayo in 2010 after the 2008 contested congress. He had been serving as the union’s leader in an acting capacity.
Mkhululi Sibanda and Emmanuel Mavata became the 1st and 2nd vice presidents of the union while long serving journalist Foster Dongozi retained the secretary-general position unopposed. Prior to the elections some disgruntled members of the union had mounted a strong opposition to Dongozi’s leadership and threatened to challenge him for the position and mooted an idea of forming a splinter union. But the plot faltered on Monday as Dongozi emerged victorious.
Evince Mugumbate also retained the treasurer’s position which she has held for the past five years.
The new executive committee members are freelance journalists Godfrey Mutimba, Brenna Matendere,Oliver Karuru of ZBC ,ZFM Stereo’s Perfect Hlongwani and Regis Chingawo.
Sinikiwe Marodza, Bridget Mananavire, Nyasha Maravanyika and Thabani Dube made it into the Gender Mainstreaming Committee of the troubled union.
Nduduzo Tshuma was voted the union’s organising secretary and is deputised by Steven Chadenga while Senzo Mpofu was elected the training and welfare officer with Admore Marambanyika deputizing him.
A total of 39 delegates attended the congress which was held at Mutirikwi lakeshores in Masvingo which commenced Sunday and ended Monday. Eliot Muposhi, the regional paralegal officer of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and Fiona Magaya presided over the elections.
The congress adopted some constitutional amendments and agreed that the leadership of the union should emerge from professional journalists with training and traceable history in unionism at branches and workplace.
It also resolved that two delegates per branch that is the chairman and the secretary are the ones eligible for voting at a congress.
The congress however deferred the adoption of the union’s financial report after delegates requested for the simplification of the statement and for some fully audited accounts.