IN a bid to win back the Kwekwe constituency, cabinet ministers and ruling party chefs have involved themselves in the affairs of Sable Chemicals and dismissed five top managers for allegedl
y failing to resolve a labour dispute.
Highly placed sources said ministers Webster Shamu, July Moyo, Rugare Gumbo and Olivia Muchena visited Sable in early June and ordered an unconditional reinstatement of around 30 employees whose services had been terminated.
The government has already directed the company to suspend senior managers.
“Following a government directive issued through the board of directors, you are suspended on full benefits with effect from the 5th August until further notice,” reads a letter sent to one of the managers by Sable acting general manager, J Mhunduru.
“After holding separate meetings with management and workers, the four brought together all employees to an open ground where the reinstatement was ordered,” sources said.
“The whole process including meetings were conducted with political sloganeering and open denunciation of the Movement for Democratic change (MDC) leadership as well as accusations that the majority of Sable employees were opposition supporters.”
Sources said the move was meant to restore Zanu PF’s authority at Sable Chemicals ahead of next year’s election. The fertiliser manufacturing company is viewed as an organising hub for the opposition MDC. The sitting MP Blessing Chebundo worked at the company before 2000.
Sources said a week after the visit, government issued a directive to the Sable board of directors to suspend five top managers. They were subsequently dismissed at the beginning of this month along with 11 senior workers.
“The key positions are currently being manned in acting capacities by well-known Zanu PF functionaries now indirectly running the company,” a source said.
Contacted for comment, Chebundo said he was not in a position to discuss the matter as he had applied to parliament to move a motion on the issue.
“I can’t give details at the moment,” Chebundo said. “I can confirm receiving the complaints but it will prejudice my presentation to parliament.”
Sable Chemicals, Zimbabwe’s sole ammonium nitrate fertiliser producer, is owned by the Industrial Development Corporation, TA Holdings and Norsk Hydro.