The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has accused war veterans of the 1970s liberation war of abusing teachers, especially during election time.
PTUZ said teachers were mainly targeted for their alleged sympathy for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party.
In a national survey conducted countrywide between April and June this year, PTUZ said: “Teachers, whether differing by political or union affiliation, are regarded with suspicion during elections. It is for this reason that education is a political battleground in Zimbabwe, and has always been so.”
The 20-page report, entitled: Every School Has a Story to Tell: A Preliminary Report of a Study on teacher Experiences with Elections in Zimbabwe, PTUZ said war veterans were fingered in 1 272 cases between 2000 and the 2008 presidential election.
The survey sampled 1 086 teachers from the country’s 10 provinces.
The abuses ranged from abductions, general assault, extortion, forced leave and transfers, forced attendance to Zanu PF rallies, property seizures, rape, sexual assaults, threats and torture.
According to the report, war veterans topped in abductions with 37 cases, assault (121), disqualifying teachers from voting (77), extortion (161), force-marching people to rallies (326), forced displacements (70) and torture (104).
Zanu PF youth activists eclipsed the former fighters in cases of indecent assault, fingered in 54 cases against the war veterans’ 38 with ordinary party members involved in 36 cases.
In total, war veterans had 1 272 cases, with ordinary Zanu PF supporters at 1 145, while party youths allegedly committed 926 violations.
The security forces came fourth with 482 cases.