By Daniel Chigundu
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) says it barred political activist Linda Masarira from sitting in the VIP tent because she wanted to disrupt Workers Day celebrations.
Masarira who is MDC-T (Khupe) spokesperson had intended to sit in the tent which was dominated by members from MDC-T (Chamisa), where the likes of Paurina Mpariwa, Gift Chimanikire, Murisi Zwizwai, Job Sikhala, Eric Murai, Costa Machingauta, Jacob Ngarivhume, Raymond Majongwe and others where sitting but she was kept out by security manning the entrance gate.
In an interview ZCTU president, Peter Mutasa said they had officially invited only political parties which are represented in Parliament but others were free to attend and that they kept Masarira out because they heard from the security that she wanted to cause a scene at the event.
“…last night I got a call from our sister Comrade Linda Masarira because she has been in the trade union, she was asking if we are also inviting them to the celebrations and I told her that Worker’s Day celebrations are open to everyone and they can come.
“As someone who is already in the union she could have just come and get into the ground, but I heard that there was a problem because, at the gate, our security overheard her saying she wants to come and sit at the top table and cause a scene.
“So if security hear such things they act without having to consult with anyone, so they said if she wants to cause a scene during Worker’s Day, we don’t think its proper for people to display their political disputes at the such an event so she was barred from coming to the VIP tent but she was free to sit with people in the terraces no one was going to bar her from sitting there that is what I heard from security,” he said.
However, in an interview, Linda Masarira said what happened today is a clear testimony that the labour union has been hijacked and is now involving itself in MDC-T factional politics.
“When I got here I was told I cannot get in because I was not on their invitation list but I told them I was invited yesterday by their President Peter Mutasa but the security was adamant and they came in full force to block me.
“Secondly I am also a worker I was affected by the Zuva judgement and I have every right to be here like any other politician who is at this event, what I see is factional politics which actually entails there are some people who want to hijack the workers struggle.
“I came here representing the workers in Zimbabwe but for the security which is here to close me out and say I cannot attend this event shows that we have high levels of intolerance in Zimbabwe.
“Honestly I don’t know why I am being denied accesses to the stadium because I was also invited the very same way the other people from the Nelson Chamisa faction were invited,” she said before eventually leaving the venue.
Thokozani Khupe and Nelson Chamisa are currently fighting over the control of the party and are both leading factions which are calling themselves the legitimate MDC-T.
The Chamisa led-faction tried to bar the Khupe faction from using party symbols and name but their court application was thrown away with costs as Justice Bere declared that both politicians are factional leaders.