MASVINGO – In what could be a tip of the iceberg of bad governance in Zimbabwe’s trade unions, Faster Gono an army captain and known Zanu PF activist and his alleged wife Lucia Chirhelele have been running the liquid Zimbabwe Sugar Milling Industry Workers’ Union (ZISMIWU) for four years as sole board members.
This means that the couple controlled the Union’s US$56 000 a month or US$672 000 generated from members’ subscriptions was used. It is alleged that none of the two is a worker in the sugarcane industry.
The Union is one of the biggest in the country with 14 000 members who pay subscriptions of US$4 each per month.
The allegations are contained in an appeal document under case number LC/MD/45 placed before the Labour Court in Gweru by a ZISMIWU faction challenging results of union elections held on August 19 and 20, 2021.
One of the factions wants the books of accounts during the 2016 to 2019 that the couple ran the organization audited. The wife has since stepped down as a board member according to the documents.
All of Gono’s lines given to The Mirror indicated that they were no longer in use and therefore no comment could be obtained from him.
The Union has had leadership squabbles for many years as political parties moved in to control ZISMIWU and its rich resources.
“At the elections the newly elected president of the National Executive Committee, Berrington Zvanyanya told the electorate that there is a need for ZISMIWU funds to be audited since he and his committee were taking over from a one-woman committee member a miss Lucia Chirhelele and the secretary general Mr Gono who are apparently husband and wife. The one committee member Miss Lucia Chirhelele had already tendered her resignation as at the time of elections on 13 July 2019, reads the document,” reads part of the court document.
The appellants in the case are led by Sitiriki Mudzoro and Mewton Magomana while the respondents are Minister of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare Professor Paul Mavima, Gono, ZISMIWU and Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions.
The three ZISMIWU executive committee members who left Tongaat Hullets are Godfrey Katerere, Brawl Chikandiwa and Tavanga Vandirai.
The appellants are challenging elections won by Samuel Mubango as ZISMIWU president. Taruvinga Madenyaya was elected Vice President, Nokuthula Dube, Moses Mutonho, Patrick Masaiti and Biggie Jakarasi were elected committee members.