Police turn down teachers’ bid to march to Parly

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Zimbabwean teachers on strike

BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA/SILAS NKALA

POLICE have turned down the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ)’s bid to march to Parliament today to submit a petition over educators’ poor salaries and working conditions.

PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe had requested police escort in a letter addressed to the police dated February 25, 2022.

But police said the teachers should send a few individuals to deliver the petition.

“Please be advised that I am not in a position to sanction the march due to the following reasons. Some rogue elements may take advantage of the situation and hijack your march and further their own ill-conceived agenda. However you may allow,” acting officer commanding Harare Central district one Chidakwa wrote to Majongwe on Tuesday.

Majongwe had also written to Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda giving notice of their intention to march to Parliament to deliver the petition.

The majority of teachers went on strike when schools reopened on February 7 citing incapacitation.

Government offered a 20% salary increment to teachers, among other incentives, but the educators insisted that government should revert to the pre-October 2018 salaries of at least US$540.

Speaking to NewsDay yesterday, Majongwe said they would challenged the police ban on the proposed march.

“We are definitely challenging this. We want to submit the petition as a group. We are considering taking the legal route. How can two teachers carry the burden of over 22 000 teachers? Certainly, there is no justification to stop us from handing over the petition,” he said.

Harare provincial police spokesperson Inspector Tendai Mwanza referred questions to national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, whose number was not reachable.

Meanwhile, the Primary and Secondary Education ministry has reportedly dispatched district school inspectors (DSIs) on a witch-hunt targeting teachers who have been absent from work since schools opened.

Government had instructed all teachers to have reported for duty by February 22 or be considered as having resigned.

PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said the union had received information that DSIs were ordered to charge the absentee teachers and their respective school heads.

Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro could not be reached for comment.

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