West funding teachers unions to destabilise govt: Minister

Source: West funding teachers unions to destabilise govt: Minister | Newsday (News)

BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA

Acting Public Service minister Paul Mavima on Wednesday accused foreign countries of funding teachers unions to destabilise the Zanu PF government through recurrent salary strikes.

In an interview with Voice of America’s Studio 7 on Wednesday, Mavima accused the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) of being funded by some unnamed donors outside the country to incite civil unrest.

He said government was making efforts to ensure that teachers were well-paid, but teachers’ unions were not appreciative of the efforts.

“Some teachers’ organisations such as Artuz do not care about the government’s efforts to address their concerns,” Mavima said.

“What they are concerned about is to criticise government despite its efforts to improve the welfare of teachers. They do this in order to get funds from the donors to promote violence. What we know is that they are being funded by foreign countries to destabilise the country.”

But Artuz denied that it was being funded from outside. It said its membership constituted a significant number of teachers in the country.

“We wish to categorically and unequivocally posit that Artuz is a progressive revolutionary teachers’ union formed on the behest of perennial abuse of teachers in Zimbabwe since time immemorial,” Artuz secretary general Robson Chere said.

“Artuz was not formed to go to bed with the employer, but to further the interests and welfare of teachers and learners in Zimbabwe. That is our sacred moral and constitutional duty. We will serve.”

But Artuz denied that it was being funded from outside. It said its membership constituted a significant number of teachers in the country.

“We wish to categorically and unequivocally posit that Artuz is a progressive revolutionary teachers’ union formed on the behest of perennial abuse of teachers in Zimbabwe since time immemorial,” Artuz secretary general Robson Chere said.

“Artuz was not formed to go to bed with the employer, but to further the interests and welfare of teachers and learners in Zimbabwe. That is our sacred moral and constitutional duty. We will serve.”

Government has on several occasions accused civic society groups of receiving funding from the West in a bid to pursue a regime change agenda.

The stand-off between government and teachers has persisted since last year, with the educators demanding the pre-2018 October salary levels of between US$520 and US$550 or equivalence in local currency.

But Mavima said the government was satisfied with its workers’ salaries in which the least paid was earning $30 000, which translates to US$ 187 per month.

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