More than 62 MDC-T workers on Wednesday held a demonstration at the opposition party’s headquarters in Harare after going for more than 17 months without salaries.
The Herald has it on good authority that the MDC-T leadership has been failing to pay salaries for over 110 of its employees after donors tightened the purse strings.
About 62 employees, some of them who were representing the MDC-T National Workers’ Committee, besieged Harvest House on Wednesday afternoon demanding to be addressed by the opposition party’s secretary-general Mr Douglas Mwonzora over the matter. In an interview yesterday, Mr Mwonzora confirmed that they were in arrears but dismissed reports that they had not been paying the workers for the past 17 months.
“It’s an exaggeration that we haven’t been paying them for the last 17 months. We have been paying them. Yes, we are in arrears just like The Herald, just like Zanu-PF and just like Parirenyatwa.
“We do owe our workers in arrears in differing amounts. We are in arrears because the Government grant doesn’t come on time,” he said.
He, however, refuted that he had held a meeting with the workers’ committee representatives on Wednesday. But sources who attended the meeting said the employees were first addressed by MDC-T national chairman Mr Lovemore Moyo and his deputy Mr Morgan Komichi but they “rubbished them” demanding to be addressed by Mr Mwonzora.
Mr Mwonzora is later reported to have engaged only three top leadership representatives from the workers’ committee but this did not go well with the other employees who later besieged his office.
The other employees who were reportedly sitting on the floor in protest, accused Mr Mwonzora of trying to hoodwink the committee’s leadership.
Mr Mwonzora later chaired the meeting and is reported to have told the employees that the opposition party leadership was aware of the workers’ plight.
“(Mr) Mwonzora said the party leadership was aware of the workers’ plight and that there was a communication breakdown between the party leadership and the workers following the last National Standing Committee meeting which was held on the March 15, 2017, which resolved that the workers should be given 50 percent of their arrears,” said one of the sources.
“Mwonzora further said that it was not clear whether the 50 percent was for the total salary arrears or for the month of March only. He said he was going to engage and clarify with the party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai over the matter.”
The employees started calling Mr Mwonzora a “fraudster” after he later informed them that the party could not guarantee the 50 percent since they had no money and that the money they had received under the Political Parties Finance Act had been used for other party programmes.
Under the Political Parties Finance Act, MDC-T received $800 000 in December last year out of the $1,2 million of their allocation. In September last year, MDC-T sacrificed three vehicles to save party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s house in Strathaven, Harare, from being auctioned over $55 000 owed to a local bank.
The broke politician had his property, Stand Number 2 Strathaven Township, earmarked for attachment over non-payment of a loan extended by Afrasia Bank Zimbabwe Limited three years ago.
The stand measures 4 689sqm and is registered under Deed of Transfer Number 9927 /2000.
According to a writ of execution obtained by Afrasia Bank, the Sheriff of the High Court was directed to attach all movable property at the house.
While the property was facing the hammer, the MDC-T leadership — through its company called Laphonic Investments situated at Harvest House in Harare — came to the politician’s rescue and offered three party vehicles for attachment and execution. The three vehicles were a Toyota Toyoace (ADM 9210), a Isuzu KB250 (ADA 1750) and Toyota Dyna (ACO 0160).
It is believed that one of the vehicles was being used by the party’s Harare Province to ferry instruments.-HERALD