BY TAURAI MANGUDHLA
THE ruling Zanu PF party has allegedly demanded that broke civil servants must contribute US$3 each towards the Heroes Day celebrations to be held early next month.
Nurses, teachers and other government workers, especially those working in rural areas are the biggest victims as they often fall prey to abuse by Zanu PF politicians.
Civil servants told NewsDay that they were ordered to pay US$3 each by August 1.
“We are required to contribute towards Heroes’ celebrations to be held on August 8. Every civil servant contributes US$3… Due date is 1/8/22,” a notice seen by NewsDay, which was sent to civil servants, read.
Public Service minister Paul Mavima denied any government involvement, saying this was a scam.
“There is nothing like that in government. Heroes’ celebrations were allocated a budget by Treasury and we will be using that,” Mavima said in a telephone interview yesterday, adding that anyone who received such messages should report to the police.
However, some of the messages require civil servants to submit the contributions to their station heads. The contributions will then be paid to district or regional government departments.
Civil servants earn below US$200 monthly. Government workers who confided in NewsDay, said they could not afford the contributions, but were paying the US$3 in fear of victimisation.
“We had incidents of teachers being brutally attacked by Zanu PF youths for being perceived to be pro-opposition in 2008, 2013 and even 2018. I will have to do whatever it takes to avoid this and so I will pay,” a teacher in Bikita said.
“I remember very well that some of us were asked to stop reporting for work until elections were over for our own safety because it’s not safe here,” a nurse in Chivi said.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou said the practice was rampant nationwide, especially in the rural areas.
“We have heard about these issues and as we have already said, this is not a forced thing, but voluntary and our members should never be forced to subscribe to Heroes Day celebrations. It’s happening nationwide; particularly at rural schools. As an association, we encourage our members to make formal reports to us. If that happens, then both the headmasters and line ministries must seek protection from the police and protect teachers from these politicians,” Zhou said.
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