Mugabe aide evicts teachers


A top official in President Robert Mugabe’s office angered teachers at a school on his farm after he allegedly ordered them out of their houses to pave way for his workers.
The teachers have been living at the school since 2007.
Retired Colonel Christian Katsande, the Deputy Secretary to Cabinet and the President, is accused by teachers at Sally Mugabe Primary School of being insensitive to their plight and the children they teach.
Katsande was unavailable for comment as his mobile phone went off before he could respond.
Repeated efforts thereafter to call him were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered.
There were fears yesterday that the school would shut down because the majority of teachers had threatened to leave should they be evicted from school accommodation. Up to 18 teachers were given until yesterday to vacate houses at Clan Farm on Katsande’s orders.
The teachers said they were only told yesterday that they should immediately look for alternative accommodation.
The move is set to disrupt lessons at the school that has about 623 pupils mainly from Clan Farm and surrounding farms and Sally Mugabe Heights.
Yesterday, teachers were not in class and pupils were milling around the schoolyard, evidence that the evictions had disrupted classes.
“We do not know what Katsande wants us to do because we are now stranded,” said one teacher who declined to be named. “We thought he was sincere about the education of the children of his workers and those from surrounding communities but we have been proved wrong.”
Officials from the school development committee confirmed the teachers had been asked to vacate the school accommodation at the farm. They said there was nothing wrong with Katsande’s actions.
“The accommodation the teachers have been using was temporary. It was provided by Mr Katsande for free and we are now surrendering that accommodation,” Herekia Mbwende, deputy chairperson of the school development committee said last night.
He was accompanied by the chairperson, Laiton Grey concurred saying: “We are assisting teachers to look for accommodation elsewhere. All that you are hearing about the school being closed is total rubbish
and nonsense.”
Mbwende said any teacher who was unhappy with the developments at Sally Mugabe Primary School was free to leave and find a new school with accommodation.
“We do not want people to tarnish the image and name of our school for no apparent reason,” he said. “The teachers should learn to appreciate that Mr Katsande gave this accommodation from 2007 to 2010.”
Mbwende said officials from the Ministry of Education were aware of the development and had addressed the teachers last Thursday. He said at the meeting, all the teachers agreed to vacate the farm houses. “Whoever informed you has a motive which is totally anti-development,” Mbwende said. But the affected teachers refuted Mbwende’s claims maintaining Katsande’s actions were unfair and would threaten the smooth running of the school. The school was established in 2007 and was named after the late First Lady Sally Mugabe who was very popular with ordinary Zimbabweans for her affection for the downtrodden and motherly love for children.