BY MOSES MATENGA/BEAUTY NYUKE
TEN teachers were arrested yesterday in Wedza, Mashonaland East province, for protesting against non-payment of salaries by government.
Their lawyer Gift Mtisi of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights confirmed the arrests.
The 10, also represented by Godwin Giya, George Laita and Tinashe Nyamhova, were detained after the protests at Matsine Secondary School and are facing charges of participating in a gathering with intent to cause public violence.
“They were arrested for disorderly conduct for demonstrating at a school against non-payment of their salaries,” Mtisi said.
“They remain detained and will appear in court tomorrow in Marondera,” he added.
The teachers allegedly held placards as they demonstrated against the non-payment of their salaries by the Salary Services Bureau and blamed the headmaster.
Teachers under the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) banner also gave the government until Friday to resolve their salary grievances.
Artuz president Obert Masaraure said they were organising bigger protests.
“Government has enough resources to pay our salaries. Recently, it received US$463 million from Unesco, but only dedicated 2% to teachers’ welfare,” he said.
“They hate us. We have to force them to like us.”
Meanwhile, hundreds of pupils were blocked from several schools for non-payment of school fees amid complaints from parents who protested over the fee hikes.
Despite complaints from the parents, the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) said there was nothing wrong with schools denying pupils’ entry as it was the parents’ obligation to pay for their children’s education.
“I think it is only normal that parents try to meet their children’s education and the passport is to pay so that the service is delivered but we have not heard any of such reports,” Zimta chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu said.
There were reports that among several affected schools were Regina Mundi High in Gweru, Midlands province.
“Children travelled to school this morning. The school revised fees on Friday last week and is not allowing students to enter the school until they pay for the top-up,” a parent at the school told NewsDay yesterday.
Parents are struggling to pay for the school fees for the third term, arguing that government did not give them adequate time to prepare and raised the levies by a third.
But the Primary and Secondary Education ministry said there was no school fees hike.
“There is no increase in school fees. That is the thing that was already there and approved so the pro rata system caters for the extra 20 days, so there is no increase in school fees,” ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro said.