Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions president, Mr Lovemore Matombo has refused to give up power ahead of the labour body’s congress in August.

Mr Matombo was expected to hand over power to a new leader but is seeking re-election despite serving his mandatory two five-year terms.

He joins MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, who forced the amendment of his party’s constitution to enable him to stay in power longer and National Constitutional Assembly chairman Mr Lovemore Madhuku, who is also clinging to power.

On Wednesday, Mr Matombo declined to comment on the congress.

“I will not entertain any questions or discussion on the congress. You are wasting time, I will not talk about that one, no matter which way you ask me.

“Why don’t you wait until we convene a Press conference to update you? We have nothing to hide. We cannot prepare our congress in newspapers before our members are even briefed,” said Mr Matombo.

The ZCTU will hold its congress in Bulawayo from August 19 to 20 this year where all posts are up for grabs.

Incumbent secretary general Mr Wellington Chibebe is expected to officially step down to take up the post of deputy general secretary of the International Trade Unions Confederation in Brussels.

But it is the case of Mr Matombo that is hogging the limelight after he indicated that he would be seeking re-election.

Mr Matombo argues that amendments to the ZCTU constitution to have two-term limits were adopted by the labour body’s general council in 2006.

This, he says, means his first term began in 2006 and is eligible for another term.

The ZCTU boss was quoted by a newsletter of the labour body’s affiliate making the same claims, alleging that the constitution was doctored by the secretariat by clandestinely inserting the clause giving the two-term limit.

“About the presidential term, I don’t recall the congress where we discussed this. I have tried to ask some members and they are also not sure where this is coming from,” Mr Matombo is quoted as saying by The Connector, a Zimbabwe Energy Workers Union newsletter.

He scoffed at suggestions that he would stand as a secretary general saying he would not go for a less influential post.

“I must say from the onset that it will be unusual for a person of my capacity to move away from the presidency to join the secretariat within the structure of ZCTU. This is just politicking and I would not want to contribute to dirty tricks and dirty campaigns that are being used,” said Mr Matombo in the newsletter.

ZCTU acting secretary general Mr Japhet Moyo said he has read the reports in which Mr Matombo claimed that the ZCTU constitution was clandestinely doctored to insert the two-term limit.

“We have only read about it but he has not officially notified the general council about his position, including the allegations that the constitution was doctored. Mr Chibebe has, however, officially notified us in our last meeting that he will be leaving for Brussels after the congress,” said Mr Moyo.

He said constitutional amendment discussions to limit the terms to two started in the 1990s when Mr Tsvangirai was the secretary general and it was something that was known by everyone.

“It is a bit strange for him to say that the constitution was doctored because the issue was subsequently debated in Mutare, Masvingo between presidents and secretary generals of affiliates before it was adopted in 2006 at a meeting Mr Matombo himself chaired,” said Mr Moyo.

“I cannot comment on these issues because he has not officially complained about that. Whether he is eligible or not it is not something we can discuss until we have seen nominations.”