Abigail Mawonde Herald Reporter
ZANU-PF Buhera South National Assembly representative Cde Joseph Chinotimba is up in arms with the Zimbabwe Urban and Rural Council Workers’ Union who accuse him of siphoning funds from the labour body when he is no longer a trade unionist.
Cde Chinotimba is a former ZURCWU president and ceased to be its leader when he joined politics in 2008. The politician resurfaced last year after appointing himself executive ZURCWU patron for life.
ZURCWU secretary-general Mr Bernad Dhanda yesterday told The Herald that Cde Chinotimba was directing union funds into his personal CBZ Kwame Nkrumah bank account.
He said acting on the instruction, Mutare City Council deposited $9 540,83. Cde Chinotimba is also being accused of confiscating the union’s registration certificate.
“As Chinotimba continued his discord in the local government sector masquerading as a trade union official, he has proved that he is not doing this to represent workers, but that he is aiming to fraudulently siphon union funds into his personal account,” said Mr Dhanda.
“He ceased to be a union official in 2008 when he resigned from Harare City Council municipal police and stopped to be a subscribing member.”
Mr Dhanda said the ZURCWU constitution stipulated that for one to be a president, one must be recommended by council or branch where one is employed.
“It is a union for the workers in the local government sector employed by either an urban or rural council. But Comrade Chinotimba is saying the constitution does not matter, the union is mine as long as I am in possession of the original copy of the union’s certificate of registration.”
The ZURCWU has since reported Cde Chinotimba at Mutare Central Police Station under RRB 2390113.
The union is also accusing Cde Chinotimba of using his political muscle to order Gweru, Kwekwe and Chegutu town councils to deposit workers’ union dues in his account.
Mr Dhanda said the ZURCWU was investigating the amounts of money Cde Chinotimba took from these councils.
Yesterday, Cde Chinotimba maintained he was still ZURCWU president.
“Dhanda does not know what he is doing. I am the president of that union. I formed it, I own it and will not give the certificate to anyone. How can I give the certificate to anyone else when it is mine?”
Added Cde Chinotimba: “The constitution says that any Zimbabwean can be a union member as long as workers like you. He no longer has people who like him that is why he is acting in such a manner.
“The case is at the High Court yet he is already making a lot of noise. Let us wait till the judgment is made and see who the president of the union will be,” he said.
He denied that unions funds were being deposited in his personal account. “The account being used is for the ZURCWU and I am just a signatory there.”
Mutare town clerk Mr Obert Muzawazi refused.