RURAL teachers have appealed to government to protect them from abusive political activists ahead of next year’s general elections.
By Tinotenda Munyukwi
Zimbabwe Rural Teachers’ Union president Martin Chaburumunda told NewsDay that members of his organisation were at risk of manipulation and abuse by political actors during election times, hence the call for State protection.
“We can never be involved in these political matters and let me say, we have always maintained an apolitical position as a profession,” he said.
“These politicians should not involve us as teachers in their activities when they will be carrying out their campaigns, because our national mandate is to teach innocent pupils, who should never be dragged into all these political issues.”
Chaburumunda said teachers, apart from their professional mandate, were also ordinary citizens allowed to participate in the democratic processes of the country, but, however, they should neither be forced nor coerced to align themselves to a certain political side against their individual choices.
He added that the era of victimisation of rural teachers was long gone and political parties should be reminded of this fact and let elections be conducted in peace as mandated by the country’s Constitution.
“As rural teachers, we are Zimbabweans and one should be free to join any political party, but only if it is a political party of their choice. Let us remind politicians out there that the era of victimisation is over and if a teacher participates in politics, it is their right as a Zimbabwean citizen,” he said.
Chaburumunda’s calls come at a time teachers in October this year strongly condemned reports suggesting that all teachers across the country’s provinces were being forced to pay between $1 and $5 dollars to fund the recently held Zanu PF congress, maintaining that schools must be left as politics-free zones.