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Turmoil Churns Pro-Government Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions

The Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions, which many consider to be aligned with the government of President Robert Mugabe, has been rocked with a power struggle that featured the ouster over the past weekend of its entire leadership.

Those dismissed by a vote of 25 out of 33 affiliate members at a meeting of the union's general council included the prominent war veteran Joseph Chinotimba, who is a vice president of the union, now-embattled President Alfred Makwarimba, and Information Secretary Kennias Shamuyarira.

Chinotimba and the others on the executive panel were accused of entering a social contract with business and the state without obtaining approval from the council.

Charges of factionalism and embezzlement have also been launched.

But the ousted executive members, who were not present at the Bulawayo meeting in question, have refused to acknowledge their dismissal, saying Chinotimba engineered the meeting as part of a ploy to seize the presidency from Makwarimba.

Chinotimba was suspended from his post earlier this year after announcing that Makwarimba had been ousted, then was readmitted on the insistence of Political Commissar Elliot Manyika of the ruling ZANU-PF party, a cabinet member.

Chinotimba could not be reached for comment on the imbroglio.

But outgoing union spokesman Shamuyarira told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that a general council meeting is on tap for Friday in Harare, adding that he and the others ousted in last weekend’s meeting have handed the matter over to their lawyers.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...