BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Several school heads in Mutasa district, Manicaland province were allegedly forced to attend an induction training facilitated by Zanu PF at the weekend, a development that has irked teachers who described it as “disturbingly unconstitutional”.
Teachers’ unions yesterday said the indoctrination sessions were taking place in different parts of the country.
Zanu PF information director Tafadzwa Mugwadi told NewsDay that there was nothing untoward about the “induction” meetings. He said Zanu PF drew its membership from all professions.
“There is nothing amiss with Zanu PF engaging the school heads, if ever there was such a meeting in Mutasa. In any case, the membership of the party cuts across headmasters, the nursing profession and other civil servants,” Mugwadi said.
It is alleged that the Mutasa Zanu PF induction training was held on Saturday and Sunday, and was facilitated by party provincial officials, members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), and army personnel.
ZNLWVA spokesperson Douglas Mahiya declined to comment on the issue.
The training programme came hardly two months after the Zanu PF Bulawayo province recommended that all civil servants compulsorily attend the ruling party’s Herbert Chitepo School of Ideology drills.
National Association of School Heads (NASH) secretary-general Munyaradzi Majoni said: “It’s unfortunate that with regards the said meetings, I am not privileged to be aware of such meetings but we cannot rule out the possibility.
“As far as I am concerned, our members have not been invited through us (NASH) to attend the meetings.”
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) president Obert Masaraure said the Zanu PF induction drills were illegal.
“These trainings are ongoing nationwide. The Constitution of the Republic proscribes civil servants from engaging in partisan business. Our ruling party is once again wantonly violating the Constitution it is expected to uphold,” Masaraure said.
“Learners are being denied full access to education as school heads are leaving schools unattended. Zanu PF should be ashamed of itself; the preoccupation with power retention by any means necessary is pathetic.”
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou said the Zanu PF indoctrination lessons were not happening in Mutasa only.
“It is unfortunate that we are witnessing the “party-nisation” of government institutions, particularly the Ministry of Education. The reality is that there is a militarisation of the Education ministry with the whole essence of ensuring that personnel within the ministry are Zanu-nised.”
Mutasa Central MDC Alliance legislator Trevor Saruwaka confirmed that the induction meetings took place in his constituency.
“This is a violation of sections 200 and 208 of the Constitution,” Saruwaka said.
The provisions bar civil servants from engaging in party politics and furthering the interests or cause of any particular party.
“It is these unconstitutional acts that have taken Zimbabwe where it is today. Lawlessness by the ruling party and its institutions especially the security sector have cemented our status as a pariah State,” Saruwaka said.