Society - Southern Africa - Zimbabwe - Conflicts - Education - Politics
Scared teachers stay home as schools reopen
Schools are supposed to reopen today for the second term countrywide after a five week long break. But that is not the case here. Only handful of students were seen walking to school this morning.

from our correspondent in Harare

Last night the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) issued a circular to all schools calling on teachers not to conduct any lessons.

Their grievance is that they have not received their full pay as promised by Robert Mugabe during his campaigns.

Mugabe promised to increase pay in March to $3.5 billion but so far they have only received half of that.

Reads part of the circular: “The struggle continues. As schools open on Tuesday for second term be mindful that the Robert Mugabe government has not fully owned it’s pledged as regards to our pay. Therefore, we instruct you not to report for lessons until we are fully paid” PTUZ says it has taken this route as it feel betrayed by the Mugabe regime.

“Remember that last term we only went back to class after we got what we thought was a genuine pledge to increase our pay. But as things unfolded we realized that it was just an election gimmick. So no pay no work”

With teachers boycotting lessons students are yet again the loosers. Last term, there were several interruptions in their studies. To add salt to injury, government last Friday approved a fee structure of between $6 bn to $40 bn per child a term. But most workers earn far less than $3 bn per month.

In the same circular, the teachers’ union says several of its members who served as poling officers have been abducted at night by suspected state agents and forced to confess that they helped rig elections in favour of the opposition.

PTUZ urged teachers to vacate schools for their own safety once they suspect they are being targeted or threats have been made against them. "Teachers who were presiding officers are being abducted, in the middle of the night and forced to write sworn statements to the effect that they rigged elections,"

"Our advice to teachers is that vacate the school once political threats are uttered. Never take chances, the country is full of blood thirsty ninjas and vampires.”

Police have over the past four weeks cracked down on polling officials, arresting scores of them while accusing them of conniving with the opposition to deny Mugabe and his ZANU PF party victory in last month’s joint presidential and parliamentary elections.

Some of the polling officials, among them several teachers, have been brought to court on charges of electoral fraud. However, a recount of votes in 23 constituencies revealed minor inconsistencies in tallying of votes that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said were not enough to alter the opposition’s electoral victory.


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