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Cablegate: "Defection" From Zctu Effected by Green Bombers

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

061245Z Nov 03




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary. The GOZ-sponsored press reported triumphantly
that the Grain Marketing Board's (GMB's) workers have seceded
from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to ally
instead with the ZANU-PF organization, the Zimbabwe
Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU). However, the increasing
number of National Youth Service graduates (colloquially
known as "Green Bombers") within the GMB made such an
eventual alliance a foregone conclusion. Rather than a
victory for the ZFTU, this new alignment simply underscores
the allegiance of the Green Bombers to the party line,
regardless of the impact. End summary.

2. Press reports over the last year have claimed that
increasing numbers of ZANU-PF youth militia have been
absorbed into various GOZ, security force, and parastatal
enterprises. One report indicated that up to 1,250 graduates
of the National Youth Service were "hired" by the GMB -- some
as unofficial "security" to maintain order in the growing
queues for GOZ-distributed grain. As recruits of the GOZ who
have been steeped in the party line and promised
government-connected jobs, these graduates clearly understand
that loyalty to the party is a condition of service. Labor
contacts indicate that this contingent, rather than other GMB
laborers, are behind the public defection of GMB workers from
the ZCTU, which has often been reviled by the GOZ as a
political rather than a labor organization.

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3. Comment: Despite the claims of victory for the ZFTU,
this realignment is merely a pro-forma statement of the youth
militia's accord with ruling party ideology and submission to
ruling party authority. Despite predatory attacks by the
ZFTU on established unions, no other legitimate organizations
have unilaterally changed alliances. Such reports underscore
the GOZ-owned Herald newspaper's growing comfort -- in the
absence of countervailing independent media sources -- with
publishing whatever they please, regardless of the more
subtle reality. End comment.

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