Home » General » ’Zim Has Demonstrated Leadership in SADC [interview]

Zimbabwe has been elected to the International Labour Governing Body, representing the Sadc region and is set to host the extraordinary meeting of Sadc Ministers and social partners responsible for labour in Victoria Falls from July 7 to 11. The vote of confidence in Zimbabwe has placed the country on the world map and the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Head of International Relations Mr Poem Mudyawabikwa (PM) speaks to our Senior Reporter Peter Matambanadzo (PTM) about these developments.

What does the election of Zimbabwe to the International Labour Organisation Governing Body at the recently held conference in Geneva mean for the country?

It means Zimbabwe has shown and will continue to show its capacity to represent the region in the governing body of the ILO. People have been saying Zimbabwe does not have capacity and it is in bad standing so this election in the governing body shows that we have the capacity to implement employment and labour issues of the country and those for the region.

It also means when we are in the governing body whenever issues of Zimbabwe are going to be discussed we will be able to answer directly to the other members of the governing body rather than have another country represent us and therefore determine our issues through another country.

Remember we are coming from a background where Zimbabwe was said to be in a bad standing with the international labour community. So our election will enable us to represent ourselves and the region on all labour and employment issues.

What are some of the practical benefits of Zimbabwe’s participation in such an international forum?

When you are in the governing body you are able to aocate resources for employment and labour programmes and projects. We have a lot of areas where we need support from the ILO, for instance the labour law reforms: we need both technical and financial support from the ILO. So, once you are in the governing body you have the platform to sit on your own behalf and be able to be heard and then the ILO can be able to support your programme.

What roles will Zimbabwe play on behalf of the sub-region?

PM: Once you are in the governing body you will be attending intra-session meetings where members of the governing body will be meeting with other regions and discussing the agenda for the region and ILO. So we are representing our region and we will get the views and positions from other member states. And when we meet and exchange ideas, we will be able to articulate the concerns and interests of our sub-region. So that’s why we are there in a representative capacity to articulate not only

Zimbabwean concerns and interests but for the entire region.

Zimbabwe will be hosting a Sadc meeting of ministers responsible for labour and social partners in the resort town of Victoria Falls starting on Monday. What is this forum about?

PM: Malawi, as you know, had some elections pending and could not host the meeting in March or April, so we have been requested as deputy chair to host the important forum. So, our minister will be chairing the Sadc Employment Labour Sector meeting starting on July 7, 2014 ahead of the Summit for Heads of State and Government coming in August. Zimbabwe will assume chairmanship of the Sadc starting from August 1 and what it means is any meetings convened between August and July 2015 will be hosted by Zimbabwe.

It is important to have this because there is a document, which we need to comment upon as a sector. It is called the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan. So as a sector we need to provide our comment ahead of the summit and that’s one key issue which we will discuss.

Another key issue to be discussed is the draft regional labour migration policy framework.

After August 2014 as a ministry we will be chairing all Sadc employment labour sector meetings above being in the governing body representing Sadc in the ILO. So we will have another responsibility of convening and directing the Sadc employment labour sector meeting for one year. So that’s in addition for being in the governing body of the ILO and beyond being in the governing body of the ILO we have been elected as co-ordinator for Africa group for the ILO.

This means that the Africa group has faith in the capacity of Zimbabwe to lead them in the ILO for the next three years as the co-ordinator. This essentially means that the Minister of Labour in Zimbabwe will be chairing all ILO meetings during the governing body, during the International Labour Conference which involves all African Ministers of Labour as the co-ordinator of African ministers at ILO.

It shows that we have the capacity and other member states have faith in the ability to facilitate and represent them.

Source : The Herald