We stand in solidarity with persecuted poverty-stricken, teachers

Letters to the editor

THE Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC), which brings together various civic groups including women, farmers, war veterans, youths, students, residents, the academia and labour, stands in solidarity with the poverty-stricken and persecuted teachers of Zimbabwe.

We also call upon parents and the general citizenry to rally behind teachers’ struggle for a living wage.

We note with grave concern that government continues to use intimidation and coercive tactics against teachers who are making genuine demands for a living wage.

For the record, teachers are not on strike but are incapacitated to report for duty due to the fact that they are getting meagre salaries and continue to live far below the poverty datum line.

Government’s insincerity towards improving the welfare of teachers has reduced them to paupers despite their invaluable contribution to the country.

Due to the failure by government to adequately address teachers’ concerns, pupils continue to be deprived of the right to education, which is enshrined in section 75 of the Constitution.

Learning standards continue to fall while infrastructure at public schools is dilapidated.

Looting of the country’s natural resources by the political elite continues unabated while the plight of teachers continues to worsen and this is a call for citizens to hold the government to account.

Over the years, government has exhibited lack of political will to address teachers’ concerns and has apparently failed to create genuine platforms for negotiations with the teachers.

Government continues to make unilateral decisions without fully consulting teachers and uses divide and rule tactics against the suffering teachers.

To make matters worse, the government has criminalised trade unionism and this has seen the arrest and persecution of trade union leaders for demanding a living wage for teachers.

On February 10, 2022, government announced the suspension of teachers without pay who had not reported for duty since February 7, 2022 when schools opened.

According to teacher unions, the move will affect 135 000 out of 150 000 teachers and this will further deprive pupils of their right to education.

It is in this vein that the general citizenry must see the teachers’ struggle as their own struggle.

Government must be held to account and solidarity with persecuted teachers is critical at this juncture.

CiZC stands in solidarity with teachers and reiterates the call for the restoration of the pre-October 2018 salary, which was US$540. –CiZC

Zim human rights record plumbs new depth with prosecution of pupils over protest

THREE pupils at Gokomere High School were last week scheduled to stand trial at Masvingo Magistrates Court answering to charges of committing public violence for allegedly protesting against poor diet and learning conditions last year.

The three pupils were recently summoned to appear at Masvingo Magistrates Court to answer to charges of committing public violence as defined in section 36(1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

They pupils are part of 40 Gokomere High School students, who were left nursing some injuries when they were severely assaulted by some Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers who arrested them on November 7 and 8, 2021 after they were accused of staging a demonstration at the school against unsuitable learning conditions.

The pupils spent time detained at Masvingo Rural Police Station and were only released on November 8, 2021 following representations made by Martin Mureri of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who emphasised the need to engage the students’ parents or guardians to the officer-in-charge of Masvingo Rural Police Station rather than keeping them in detention.

Last year, Mureri protested against the conduct of police officers who arrested and assaulted the pupils and left them in bad shape.

Mureri asked ZRP officers to probe the brutal assault of the pupils and furnish him with the names of law enforcement agents who ill-treated the students.

But in response, the officer commanding Masvingo province, identified as Assistant Commissioner Frederick Mbengwa, told Mureri that the pupils were injured because they were trying to evade arrest and that they were very violent.

Mbengwa stated that ZRP officers were deployed to quell a disturbance and said video evidence and pictures handed over to law enforcement agents by Mureri is inadmissible as they were from an unknown source and do not reveal the identity of any complainant.Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

N response to ZCTU demands urgent salary talks, NGARURO WA KIRIRO VICTOR says: It’s high time Finance minister Mthuli Ncube considered channelling some of the surplus being realised from the significantly improving economy to address these concerns asap.

IN response to Govt must restore teachers’ dignity, LOVEMORE MAKAKA says: Government must be a little more serious with people’s lives. It must not treat people like they are nothing.

OSONDU OWENDI says: Striking is one of the fundamental rights provided for by the Constitution. All government officers are employees of the Public Service Commission, which is responsible for hiring them and terminating their contracts. What we are seeing now is powerful politicians poo pooing on our Constitution. They are forcing the improbable things to happen.

BRIAN BAGNALL says: One way or another, the people of Zimbabwe have no choice. They must get rid of Zanu PF. Under the present leadership, there is no going forward and things will only get worse. To the people of Zimbabwe, we say wake up and do what is best for the future.

STANLEY BHEKI KHUMALO says: Ian Smith gave Zanu PF the most beautiful country in Africa. Zimbabwe was called Rhodesia, with a very strong currency which was stronger than the United States dollar. Forty-two years on, this country is now called Zimbabwe and we are witnessing a total decimation of that beauty. As a nation, we lost everything. We are back to the Stone Age. Now the country is using paper as money. Our only solution is total rejection of Zanu PF on the ballot paper. Let’s all register to vote for people we believe will extricate us from this mess.

IN response to Misa takes ZBC, Zec to task over polls coverage, STANLAKE SAMKANGE says: The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) should make it mandatory for ZBC to have equal coverage for the campaign of every political party participating in an election. This itself shows Zec is biased and partisan.

CHIMZ CHIMTMZ says: ZBC and Zec work for Zanu PF. We know it. One day, people will demand that such institutions serve the masses and not a few selfish individuals. It’s only a matter of time.