Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou has dismissed the relaunched Southern African Teachers’ Organisation (Sato) as unlikely to improve teachers’ welfare as it was biased and aligned to ruling parties in the region.
Teachers from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Swaziland, Botswana and Zambia, among other countries, met in Harare over the weekend to revive Sato in the wake of continued problems they were facing in their profession.
But, Zhou on Monday warned “progressive teachers” from “being fooled” into believing their bargaining power would improve with the revival of Sato.
“That is a bogus organisation used by governments to tame teachers and continue to oppress them,” said Zhou.
“It is dubious because it is partisan, that is why they did not invite us for the meeting. Even if we were invited, we were not going to attend.”
However, Sato president Henry Kapenda said: “We aim to commit ourselves in the struggle to promote peace, democracy, social justice, equality and freedom of association in the region.
“We want to urge our governments not to take us as their enemies, but as partners in regional development.”
Zhou who said his organisation subscribes to the Association of Non-Aligned Teachers’ Unions of Southern Africa (Antusa), said the revival of Sato was meant to counter Antusa. But, Kapenda maintained there was nothing unusual in reviving Sato.
“We have decided to regroup, so as to build mutual co-operation among member organisations in the region,” said Kapenda.