to topple the old guard on the 27th – 29th of August 2015.
The congress saw the election of eight national executive members and the formation of the federation’s Central Executive Committee tasked with supervising the national executive following constitutional amendments.
The highlight of the peaceful contestation was on the presidency where the incumbent Pilate Mushanyuki from the Food Processing Workers Union was challenged by the youthful and ambitious Samuel Tsvangirai who leads the baking sector.
Mushanyuki managed to shrug off the challenge with relative ease to retain the post. The rest of the election process went on well but the serenity of the congress was almost eroded when the congress started discussing the treasurers report which revealed that one of the affiliate unions, the Soft Drinks Manufacturers Union (SDMWU) had not been remitting the stipulated 60 percent subscription to the federation.
The affiliate’s President Rangarirai Karipache tried to defend his union’s position saying they feared that their dues would be mismanaged at the federation only to invite the ire of the congress with delegates questioning the logic of such a decision.
Elizabeth Ndarera the BIWU Women Advisory Council Representative queried SDMWU’s intention and commitment to the federation.
“I would want to question the commitment of the union to FFAWUZ if it comes up with such a destructive decision that destroys the federation. Right now you are here at the congress with all the regalia and facilities from subscriptions from other sector. Where do you think the money comes from and how do you expect the federation to function and perform well if there are no funds?” she questioned.
The matter was put to rest with the intervention of FFAWUZ’s founding father Gift Kaondera Shava who strongly reprimanded the union against making such anti-union decisions.
The congress made wholesome amendments to the union constitution which included the adoption of women and young workers structures. The congress also tasked the national executive to come up with policies for the smooth administration of the federation after realising that the absence of such policies had been the source of maladministration at the federation. It was revealed that the federation’s employees had been working without contracts of employment and the anomaly was only addressed three months ago.
In his speech FFAWUZ President Pilate Mushanyuki called for unity among the sectors urging them to work towards the good of the union instead of pursuing personal gains.
“Let us work towards this federation, whoever is elected must know that it’s a responsibility from the membership at our workstations. From this congress I promise you a different FFAWUZ. We have learnt from our shortcomings and we also expect you to advice and guide accordingly not to wait for congress time. As leadership we have an open door policy,” he said.
The congress was also graced by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) President Nkiwane who urged the congress to jealously guard their class interests.
“Congress time is about planning the future of the organisation and that of the workers. I urge you delegates to task whoever you are going to elect into office with a mandate so that when you meet again after five years you can demand results and accountability. You have managed to hold your congress under difficult circumstances a feat which some unions are failing to achieve. I can see that most of the position holders were in an acting capacity and it takes great courage for someone in an acting capacity to convene a congress. Most people in such capacities would rather delay the congress for their own benefit but you saw it fit to fulfil the union’s constitutional obligation timeously,” he said.
THE elected were President - Pilate Mushanyuki FPWU, 1st Vice President Simplicio Madzongo - DEOFWU, 2nd Vice President Regis Nyakanyanga MFPAWU, Treasurer – Reuben Bhinya – SDMWU, Trustees - 1st Trustee Brian Bondera - BIWU and 2nd Trustee Blandina Mushaike MFPAWU, WAC representative – Rashiwe Dalamanzi – SDMWU , Young Workers Representative – Oliver Mudyiwa FPWU.
The newly elected leadership and selected members from sector unions went for a leadership induction training workshop soon after the congress.
The newly elected general secretary Runesu Dzimiri said the union decided to hold the workshop to get the newly elected acquainted with roles expected of them.
“Our main weakness has been on administration where policy makers and the secretariat have been overlapping their roles. The workshop managed to defined boundaries and responsibilities of each and everyone and I hope that would enhance the smooth running of the organisation,” he said.