Teachers in trouble over anti-sanctions petition

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Two teachers at Ndarama High School are reported to have been beaten up by suspected members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) after they denounced the anti-sanctions petition document which they had been ordered to take home for signing by their wives.

According to the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), Justice Hungwe and Revson Mapfaire were allegedly picked up at the school by suspected CIO members last Thursday and taken to the organisation’s provincial headquarters in Masvingo where they were reportedly tortured.

PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said the state security agents accused the duo of circulating a parallel document denouncing the anti-sanctions petition.

“We have received information that the two were tortured and told to report to the CIO on Friday and Monday this week over the anti-sanctions document. Although the affected teachers are not forthcoming with information as they have been threatened, we have information to that effect,” said Zhou.

Sources close to the incident told NewsDay on Tuesday one of the teachers sustained a broken rib following the attack.

“We heard they produced the document at Pangolin Bar in Mucheke high-density suburb and denounced it. A police constable (name supplied) who was in the bar is alleged to have caused their arrest,” a source close to the incident said.

When contacted for a comment by the Newsday, one of the teachers declined to confirm or deny the torture allegations.

“We have been given a media embargo,” he said. “You will get me in trouble, go and get a comment from the CIO,” he said.

He said they had not reported the matter to the police out of fear of further harassment.

PTUZ’s Zhou said: “We strongly condemn unwanted elements that have extended their hands into schools and we reiterate that Education minister David Coltart should prioritise teachers’ safety. He should not leave teachers being persecuted.

“If teachers are persecuted, the education system which had shown signs of recovery will collapse. We appeal to political parties to keep their elements in check. They should remove sanctions against teachers,” said Zhou.

Coltart could not be reached for comment on Tuesday night.