By Alex Bell
17 January 2013
Tourism Minister and the ZANU PF MP for Masvingo South, Walter Mzembi, has been accused of politicising a workers’ dispute at a local mine, by threatening opposition supporters there with dismissal.
According to the MDC-T, Mzembi has ordered all workers at the Renco Mine to join ZANU PF or risk intimidation, political persecution and dismissal from work.
The MDC-T provincial spokesperson, Harrison Mudzuri, told SW Radio Africa that the mine has been in the midst of a dispute between workers and management, and Mzembi is using this dispute for his own political purposes. He explained that the ZANU PF minister is “causing mayhem” by ordering the workers to join his party or risk being fired.
“Mzembi also told the workers that all MDC supporters will be thrown out of the company since he wielded powers to do so,” Mudzuri said.
He went on to criticise Mzembi for interfering “where there should be no political interference,” adding that the workers dispute “is not a political problem, but a labour issue.”
“We believe that everyone, including mine workers, has the right to vote for a party of his or her own choice. It is quite displeasing to note that a government minister and legislator could sink so low as to participate in cheap political activities,” said Mudzuri.
The MDC-T said in a statement that Mzembi’s actions are “characteristic of the hooliganism that is associated with ZANU PF and should not be condoned.”
“The bullying of hapless mine workers because of their political preferences is not only primitive but retrogressive in modern politics. Such behaviour will not distract the people’s march to a democratic dispensation,” the party said.