BY MOSES MATENGA
TEACHERS yesterday scoffed at government threats to withhold their salaries for refusing to report for duty, saying they will not be cowed into submission after declaring incapacitation due to poor remuneration.
Different teachers’ unions said their members would continue with their industrial action and they described the threats of withholding their salaries as “acts of political bigotry” which will not solve problems in the education sector.
This comes after President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his ministers last week said government would not be held to ransom by teachers.
Teachers’ unions said after the government threats to teachers, a group of militia and “rogue headmasters” began threatening teachers across the country in attempts to intimidate them into submission.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) president Richard Gundane said: “Our members who have bought into this anomalous reference to incapacitation have now fallen into the fear trench and are now in cyclic paranoia of vulnerability.
“Zimta repeats, teachers are not on strike but incapacitated. The following are not panacea to getting teachers back to their classrooms…threats associated with political bigotry, token incentives, wrong application of regulations, appealing to emotional sympathies. All these tactics fail on the tests of sustainability and reasonableness,” Gundane said.
He urged teachers to remain resolute, adding that they would not be frog-marched back to classrooms by any form of threats, but only if their incapacitation was addressed.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou said: “We are watching a sad development where youth militia and rogue elements and a few rogue headmasters are conniving to bring people to schools to eject teachers from staff quarters claiming that if they are not teaching, they must not stay in staff accommodation. That is very unfortunate because in terms of policy, no outsider must approach teachers except through ministry officials. That is where they report their
The PTUZ said the impasse between government and teachers could only be resolved through dialogue rather than threats.