via Teachers union says stalked by CIO – NewZimbabwe 13/01/2016
PROGRESSIVE Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) leaders are now living in fear for their lives after suspected state agents have reportedly been tailing them since they ordered a go-slow among union members to protest bonus delays and poor working conditions.
PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou made the claim to the media in Harare on Wednesday but defended the job action saying it was the best way to communicate teachers’ frustration against their employer.
“The current teachers go-slow is gathering momentum with state apparatus visiting PTUZ offices and several schools inquiring about the modus operandi of industrial action,” Zhou said in a statement.
The Masvingo based academic said three state agents followed him to a chain store in the city where they later took him to task for chatting to former Zanu PF MP and provincial affairs minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti.
Bhasikiti is among some top Zanu PF politicians whose political careers were left in tatters in the past year for allegedly abetting a plot by ousted Vice President Joice Mujuru to dislodge President Robert Mugabe from the helm of his party.
Zhou said his accosters confronted him for allegedly taking instructions from Zanu PF rivals, MDC-T and Mujuru’s People First to sabotage the government.
“One of the trio even revealed that he has been carrying out some form of surveillance over me since Sunday and saw me talking to People First proponent Kudakwashe Bhasikiti in OK supermarket on Sunday,” Zhou said.
“I indicated to the state apparatus that talking to Bhasikiti is not a crime and, above all, the subject of discussion was not the teachers’ go slow but merely academic.”
Zhou insisted the current go-slow by the educators was meant to draw government’s attention to the intense suffering by teachers who were now failing to pay fees for their own children.
He further demanded the victimisation of teachers in local schools by the public service officials to stop.
Teachers under PTUZ also want the government to revise down to $10, the $40 pension deductions which were unilaterally reintroduced in December by government.
Victimisation of teachers
They are also demanding that government should deliver on its promises to issue them with residential stands.
“As PTUZ,” Zhou said, “we will never condone the unilateral firing of 3,000 teachers at a time when Zimbabwe need more than 20,000 teachers and the artificial enunciation of over-staffing.
“Any attempt to politicise a labour issue is as unfortunate as it is ill-conceived.”
Government met civil union servant unions early this month to thrash out the bonus payment delays but refused to commit itself to specific payment dates.
Zhou said the job action was going ahead as planned adding that they were in the process of engaging other unions to follow suit.
The invitation was however spurned by the Zimbabwe Teachers Association, a rival group, which described the strategy as ineffective.
Zimta CEO Sifiso Ndlovu said the job action embarked on by their rivals was unnecessarily affecting school children.
“We don’t believe a go slow is effective. It only reduces the teacher to a dangerous element in front of the children. It is short changing the children” he said.
“The focus must be with the employer if it is to be effective.
“This is a cosmetic image of work going on but it short changes the children.”
PTUZ is the second largest teachers group after Zimta.