Matabeleland children marginalised: MPs


MDC legislator Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (proportional representation) yesterday stirred a heated debate in the National Assembly when she claimed that there was a deliberate government policy to marginalise children from the Matabeleland region by deploying Shona-speaking teachers at their schools.


Misihairabwi-Mushonga made the remarks while introducing her motion calling on government to introduce a quota system at tertiary institutions to ensure students from the region where the institution was situated got first preference.

“What is happening is that when you look at the state of institutions of higher learning in the Matabeleland region, very few of the students come from Matabeleland. And unless you address that particular issue, fair representation and distribution of resources will always be a problem,” she said. “What is sad is that the school system starts from Grade 1 to 7, but why is it that we have a majority of Shona-speaking teachers being deployed in Matabeleland? It is because they are supposed to destroy the foundation of that child’s learning.”

The opposition legislator said she had researched on the pattern of pass rates before introducing her motion and discovered a disturbing trend where Matabeleland North and South were always at the bottom and had fewer science laboratories when compared to other provinces.

She said of the 41 schools in Gwanda, only 14 had science laboratories that were inadequately equipped.

“It means right from the beginning, these children are unable to proceed and go to university or even get good jobs. We need government to come up with a quota system that actually says 60% to 70% places at institutions of higher learning should be reserved for children who reside in that particular region. We also need to investigate why children in Matabeleland are failing and craft a policy that children must be taught in their mother tongue.”

Seconder of the motion, Jasmine Toffa (MDC proportional representation), said: “Most children in Matabeleland are sitting at home because their places at institutions of higher learning have been taken by children from other regions,” Toffa said.

Although some Zanu PF MPs interjected fiercely saying the two MDC legislators had introduced a tribalistic motion, Bubi MP Clifford Sibanda (Zanu PF) defended the motion, saying it was premised on constitutional provisions of equality in allocation of resources to different regions.

Binga North MP Prince Dubeko Sibanda (MDC-T) said it was unfair for one region to enjoy 90% of resources and development, while other regions remained underdeveloped.


  1. Misihairabwi washaya zvekutaura. Every Zimbabwean should be given equal opportunity to enter or enrol at any Government institution and every child or prospective student should undergo same interview. Don’t talk of quota system otherwise I wont stop calling you a tribalist. But dont forget that people from Matebeleland South in particular are running away from Zimbabwe to South Africa and Botswana some even before completing ‘O’ Level. How do you expect to have more people from Matebeleland South in Higher institutions when they don’t have the qualifications to train in institutions of higher and tertiary education. Misihairabwi do your survey (study) before bringing your tribalist motions to Parliament. You must know that the law in Zimbabwe says that everyone is free to work wherever he/she likes in Zimbabwe. Ko iwe wakatiza muHarare ukaenda kuMat South ikoko kwangakusina vanhu vaisarudzwa kupinda muParamende here. Tanga wafunga zvaunounza kuParliament usaita semunhu akatiza chikoro.

    • Studio. You are defending the indefensible you are clearly a beneficiary, I was removed from my apprenticeship at the National Railways of Zimbabwe to make way for a Tshona kid in 1986.I applaud the MDC legislator bravery to bringing this issue to the open, don’t forget your presidenti nsulted the Kalanga people evidence enough to show how much he hates Matebeleland. The people of this province were not responsible for the sins of Bobs father relocating to Bulawayo and remarrying whatever the reasons are that made him leave Bona it’s none of our problem.

    • This is nothing new, people like Malinga and Mabhena have expressed their reservations about this system which deliberately seeks to alienate the people of Matabeleland and they were called tribalists. Trainee teachers, police, soldiers, nurses, college and university students are in the vast majority, Shona speaking, even at institutions deep in the heart of Matabeleland. Parastatals, government offices are all the preserve of the Mashona. This frustration has led to the people of Matabeleland to join the great trek south. Matabeleland politicians in Govt are too scared to bring this issue up as they would be minimising their chances of remaining in Govt.

  2. you have said the BEST thing so far madam. for this they can call you names but I support you on this can anyone give me the name of school and teacher who does not know a single word in shona but teaches deep in mashonaland yet we have more of the reverse

  3. Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen,you have finally said the truth we have been waiting for.You are very right in all spheres of your speech. Do not be bothered by those who oppose you, they are beneficiaries of the evil system.what would you expect them to do? to resist of course. To resist or not to resist is not any issue, the issue is to carry out corrective measures. If the Government is sincere with all its citizens and not discreminating, it should start soon rather later to dismantle all those methods meant to deny others their rightful space in an independent Zimbabwe. Let those who are benefiting from this evil status, not to deter you. we the affected and agrieved knowhow much we have been unfarely treated for too long. How does any sane person expect our children to pass when being taught by some teachers who look down on own language and culture?I salute you all who raised up this issue and i encourage you to keep on the pace.As for you studio 77 you are a beneficiary of the evil system surely you and your relatives have a lot to loose should corrective measures be taken that is why you are tribalising Mushonga when you are the one who is tribalistic. Would you allow a situation were a Chinese who knows no ‘b’ of shona teach your child? no of course. would it be tribalism if point out that anormaly? no of course.Please studio 77 do unto others what you want them to do unto you.

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