COMMUNICATION and Allied Services Workers Union of Zimbabwe (CASWUZ) members this week forcibly chucked out of office the union’s president, Lovemore Matombo, who was refusing to relinquish his post after reaching the retirement age.
Matombo, along with CASWUZ’s general-secretary, Cephas Chizura, including other members of their executive, were bundled out of their offices in Harare on Tuesday.
Before their ejection from office, the union’s membership had staged a peaceful demonstration to express their disgust over Matombo’s continued presence at CASWUZ’s Harare offices.
Matombo was supposed to have retired three years ago upon attaining the retirement age of 65. He is now aged 68.He had tried to plead with the union to extend his term pending resolution of his dispute with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) over his loss of the umbrella trade union’s presidency to George Nkiwane in 2011.
While the membership had acceded to his plea, he subsequently lost his case against Nkiwane in the High Court in May last year.
Upon losing his case, Matombo still refused to relinquish the CASWUZ presidency, leading to a protracted wrangle.
In January this year, the union’s membership passed a vote of no confidence in his executive, resulting in the appointment of Taurai Mereki as president.
Subsequent to that, they wrote to the Ministry of Labour informing government of their decision.
Still, Matombo remained ensconced in his office.Biggie Antonio, who sits in the newly elected CASWUZ executive council, said they had lost patience with the former ZCTU president and his team.
“We have been very patient with Lovemore Matombo thinking that as an elder in the labour movement he will respect our demand for him to leave office peacefully, but he has declined to do so and the only option is to force him out,” said Antonio.
Matombo has been under fire for making unilateral appointments as well as misusing the union’s funds.
He is also accused of having used the union’s funds to purchase a Toyota Corona vehicle in 2013, which he allegedly registered in his name.
As if that was not enough, he proceeded to swap the vehicle for a Toyota Mark 2 without consent from the union’s members.
Matombo is also accused of converting to personal use a commission from TelOne amounting to US$31 000.
Contacted this week for comment, Chizura described this week’s developments as the work of a rival faction seeking to takeover CASWUZ.
He said: “These are the works of a rival faction that is taking the law into its hands. All the charges they are leveling against us are baseless and unfounded because these issues are still before the courts.” financial gazette