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Teachers forced to pay $2 each for Mugabe bash

News
TEACHERS in Mashonaland East Province yesterday claimed they had been forced to contribute $2 each towards President Robert Mugabe’s 90th birthday

TEACHERS in Mashonaland East Province yesterday claimed they had been forced to contribute $2 each towards President Robert Mugabe’s 90th birthday celebrations to be held in Marondera this month-end.

BY EVERSON MUSHAVA CHIEF REPORTER

Some teachers who spoke to NewsDay on condition of anonymity claimed that several Zanu PF activists were moving around all schools in the province ordering teachers to contribute $2 each for the Zanu PF leader’s birthday bash.

The deadline was last Monday, the teachers said.

However, Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said he was not aware of the alleged fundraising programme and referred all questions to the party’s secretary for youth affairs, Absolom Sikhosana.

However, Sikhosana, whose office is responsible for all fundraising activities for the birthday celebrations, was not reachable while Zanu PF Mashonaland East provincial chairperson Ray Kaukonde was not picking calls.

Zanu PF plans to raise approximately $1 million for the bash which will be held on February 23 at Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera to mark Mugabe’s 90th birthday.

Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said members of his union had been approached by Zanu PF activists and ordered to pay the money.

“We have received the reports. It is now a perennial problem. Zanu PF should put this to a stop,” Majongwe said.

“This is extortion. Teachers should not be forced. Those who want should do so voluntarily. Why are they milking a stone? Teachers do not have the money.

“What is more disturbing is that several groups from women’s league, youths, war veterans and so on are visiting the same teachers demanding money. Some teachers will end up parting with about $10.

“Some district education officers are actually writing to teachers ordering them to pay, instead of protecting the teachers from such illegal behaviour.”

Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Manuel Nyawo said it was disturbing that Zanu PF had targeted teachers.

Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu urged teachers not to give in to unscrupulous groups who come in the name of Zanu PF to squeeze them out of their hard earned money.

“That is illegal, inhuman and a cruelty to the teachers’ economic rights. Teachers should not be forced, those who want to contribute should do so willingly,” Ndlovu said.