Florence Taruvinga is the new president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions after beating incumbent Peter Mutasa at a congress on Friday to become the first woman to hold the position.
Taruvinga works for ZESA as a technician and was previously the ZCTU’s first vice president.
Five of the ZCTU’s 31 affiliated unions, including the Amalgamated Teachers Union (ARTUZ), were barred from the poll reportedly for submitting names of their delegates late.
Mutasa and Taruvinga had the backing of 13 unions each, but Taruvinga carried the day because the unions supporting her had more voting delegates based on the size of their membership.
She polled 73 votes to Mutasa’s 59.
Valentine Chikosi and Nicholas Mazarura were elected first and second vice presidents respectively, while Douglas Chiradza will serve as treasurer general.
Runesu Dzimiri and Kudakwashe Munengiwa are the first and second deputy secretary generals. Japhet Moyo remains the secretary general, and his future will be decided by the ZCTU’s general council.
ARTUZ, in a tweet on Friday night, said “those who blocked us from voting have won.”
It added: “We cannot congratulate them because they are still to deliver on anything. We will follow their lead and only congratulate them when they genuinely defend workers’ rights.”
A court application to stop the congress by ARTUZ earlier this week was thrown out by the High Court on a technicality.
There were fears even before voting began that the Zanu PF government was keen to sponsor a candidate with the hope of neutralising the critical umbrella body of Zimbabwe’s trade unions.