The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has raised a security alert for teachers whose lives are allegedly under threat because of their political affiliation.
Raymond Majongwe, the PTUZ secretary-general, said his organisation had on Tuesday notified the United Nations, Sadc through South African President Jacob Zuma, the International Labour Organisation and Education International of the threat on the lives of six teachers from Rushinga.
The union delivered the security alert papers to Zuma through the South African Embassy in Harare stating there were more than reasonable grounds to fear for the lives of the teachers.
“We hold fears that intelligence officers in Rushinga are baying for the blood of these teachers,” he said.
The development comes after the Labour Court sitting in Harare last Friday set aside a collective decision by Luckson Chidhindi, the headmaster of Gwangwava Primary School in Rushinga District, Mashonaland Central, the district education officer (DEO) Beauty Magasa, and other officials to transfer the six teachers for political reasons.
The six were transferred to other schools after the headmaster and DEO allegedly mobilised traditional leaders and Zanu PF officials against them.
The six affected teachers are Julius Mawarire, Tinashe Mavurayi, Talent Muchakazi, Angela Zanza, Silibaziso Mawire and Maphios Chisora.
The court ordered that Chidhindi and Magasa allow the teachers to go back to their work stations at Gwangwava Primary School immediately.
Part of the Labour Court judgment reads: “The decision to transfer the said teachers without notice and their knowledge and consent is hereby set aside.
The respondents are hereby ordered to allow the teachers to execute their teaching duties at Gwangwava Primary School without victimisation threats.
The respondents shall follow the appropriate procedure in transferring the said teachers on notice and invite their inputs to the transfer and allow those who elect to be transferred to choose stations to be transferred to.”
The teachers appealed to the courts against the transfer and they won their case in what Majongwe has described as a landmark ruling.
“This landmark court ruling is a major victory for teachers against anarchy in schools. It is a bold statement to overzealous traditional leaders, sinister school development committees and unruly political elements that they have no role to play in labour disputes within our schools,” said Majongwe.
“Involving strangers like traditional leaders, politicians and parents to work-related disputes can only be done by Education officials seeking to dress their weak academic CVs by annexing Zanu PF membership cards. Academic deficiencies can never be compensated through political credentials in any meritocratic public service bureaucracy.
“It is our considered view that the Rushinga DEO and the headmaster of the school are a mass of evil and threat to the security of teachers. We condemn them for failing to apply Public Service regulations in their dispute with the teachers.”
The PTUZ said the teachers should follow the court order to go back to their schools and their security would rest with Chidhindi, the head of the school and the DEO.
“We have raised a security alert on the teachers to Sadc through the facilitator Jacob Zuma, UN special rapporteur on the right to education, ILO and Education International. We hold fears that intelligence officers in Rushinga are baying for the blood of the teachers,” said Majongwe.
“If anything happens to the teachers, we shall hold them accountable and action will be taken,” he warned.