Dialogue can end teachers, govt standoff

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Letters to the editor

SINCE schools opened on February 7, 2022, teacher unions in Zimbabwe have declared that their members are incapacitated to report for duty.

This is mainly due to the meagre salaries, which are way below the poverty datum line, which the teachers continue to receive.

Chaos continues to reign supreme at government schools around the country and students continue to be deprived of their right to education.

However, in the midst of this crisis, the government has been on an overdrive to paint a rosy picture of the country’s education sector despite the fact that events on the ground prove
otherwise.

Speaking during a Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition event on the state of the country’s education sector, the Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro claimed that all was well at schools across the country.

He, however, admitted that more could be done to improve the standards of education as well as teachers’ welfare.

“I have been at several schools and what I observed was that we have a mixed bag ever since government intervened. Last week, we had a number of teachers not attending, but now the situation is changing. It is not all blink and blurry but the outlook is looking positive although there is probably more that could be
done.

“Let us allow government to take the strides that it has taken to make sure that the welfare of the teachers is taken care of,” Ndoro said.

Government and civil servants have been at loggerheads, with the teachers blaming the State for pushing a propaganda campaign aimed at painting a positive picture yet the education sector was in turmoil.

Speaking during the same event, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe and the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe challenged government to face the reality on the ground and create platforms for genuine dialogue with the teachers. CiZC

Engineers drive, sustain economic development

THE Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers (ZIE) joins the rest of the world in the commemoration of the world engineering week under the theme Build Back Wiser Engineering The Future.

This celebration was renamed World Engineering Day as a joint venture with the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) and the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO) to highlight the achievements of engineers, technicians, scientists and technologists and improve the public understanding of the importance of engineering and technology.

Engineers and the engineering practice are crucial to the economic development, while taking into consideration the risks of climate change to ensure sustainable development. Engineers and engineering is celebrated every year, with commemorations beginning on March 4 of every year.

Zimbabwe is participating in this year’s activities to commemorate WED and celebrate the works of engineers who have worked tirelessly by contributing to the rehabilitation and development of new infrastructure.

I would like to thank our government for its commitment to the country infrastructure agenda where significant progress is being made in the energy, transport, road, water, housing and information technology sectors. As engineers, this delights.

The ZIE is a multi-disciplinary institution covering all aspects of engineering and whose operations and membership are regulated by a Private Act of Parliament. ZIE aims to set and maintain appropriate standards of practice of engineering for engineers, technologists and technicians, while promoting the advancement of engineering and technology transfer.

This year, ZIE has partnered with the Unesco, academia and other stakeholders to celebrate engineers and engineering.

There will be a host of activities and events lined up across the country as we commemorate the engineers and engineering work being done.

Engineering calls for a continuous revolving conveyor belt of expertise and knowledge so that we maintain and sustain our infrastructure.

By doing this we help to ensure there are no generational gaps in engineering knowledge and application and at the same time assist in the process of continuity in engineering standards for many years to come.

As a nation, we must be cognisant of the fact that any country that pays great attention to promoting the engineering profession will inevitably achieve greater success and realise improved economic performance.Thami Mpala, ZIE president

Spike in politically-motivated violence cause for concern

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is concerned over cases of politically-motivated violence recently reported in the media and is saddened by the resultant loss of life during a rally held in Kwekwe and extends its deepest condolences to the bereaved family.

The commission condemns and abhors in the strongest terms such acts of violence which have the effect of marring and negatively impacting the electoral environment in the build up to the by-elections set for March 26, 2022.

It is disheartening to note that such acts of violence are taking place notwithstanding the commission’s plea at a recently held multi-party liaison meeting where political parties were advised to adhere to the political parties code of conduct set out in the fourth schedule of the Electoral Act and to which their candidates made an undertaking to comply with when they submitted their nomination papers

The commission would like to reiterate its calls for tolerance and urges political parties and candidates to adhere to the code of conduct.

Political parties and candidates are reminded of paragraph 11 of the code of conduct which calls upon them to:

lInstruct their members and supporters to comply with the code and any applicable electoral laws,

lIssue directives proscribing intimidation, violence and other illegal activities or offences and educating their members on the undesirability of the same;

lInitiate appropriate disciplinary action against their office-bearers, members, supporters and candidates who contravene the code and the laws of the land.

It is everybody’s responsibility to promote an environment conducive to the holding of free and fair elections and a climate of tolerance in which electioneering activities may take place without fear or coercion, intimidation or reprisals.

Let us all foster and engender a spirit of goodwill where democratic discourse can take place amid a culture of tolerance. We all have an obligation to work towards the consolidation of peace in Zimbabwe.

In terms of the Electoral Act ,the Zimbabwe Republic Police is mandated to set up special police liaison officers in each province responsible for the expeditious investigation of cases of politically-motivated violence. The commission urges those who are victims of electoral and politically-motivated violence to report such cases to the police and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission for investigation and redress .Justice Priscilla Chigumba, Zec chairperson