The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) yesterday expressed concern over what they said was “entrenched workplace bullying on teachers by immediate supervisors and headmasters at schools”.
This was said by PTUZ programmes and communications officer, Oswald Madziva, in an interview with NewsDay, adding that teachers’ woes were not only poor remuneration, “non-hygienic” factors like bullying, perpetrated by headmasters using Zanu PF activists.
“The sad thing is that the strategic plan of the Ministry of Education acknowledges that teachers feel insecure at schools, but it does not suggest interventions and how to deal with the problem,” said Madziva.
“We as PTUZ are concerned about the manner some school headmasters, particularly Diamond Zharare, the headmaster of Nzvimbo Secondary School in Mazowe, behaved when he recently threatened a teacher, Prosper Mugwagwa, with a gun over a teachers’ strike-related dispute,” said Madziva.
He continued: “What we are concerned about is police inaction over the report and generally what we have seen as PTUZ is that when officials in the Ministry of Education are under the spotlight for wrongdoing, they rush to Zanu PF for support and the tragedy is also that Zanu PF is willing to cooperate with the officials.”
Mugwagwa said in the case of Mugwagwa, ministry officials from Mazowe District office came to Nzvimbo Secondary School with a letter from Zanu PF and the school development committee ordering the transfer of the teacher.
“We (PTUZ) advised the teacher to resist getting transferred because we said Zanu PF had a system to track down people and instead, we advised him to apply for a peace order against the school development committee and Zanu PF,” Madziva said.
According to documents availed to NewsDay, the Labour Court on Thursday ruled the transfer of Mugwagwa had been unlawful. Commenting on the issue, the Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, David Coltart, said he had always made it clear that the ministry would not tolerate bullying of any sort by school heads or supervisors to their subordinates.
“Unfortunately I have not had a report from the PTUZ on the issue, and I hope they will give me a report so that I address it immediately,” said Coltart.