via Teachers fired in ongoing ZANU PF retributive campaign | SW Radio Africa by Nomalanga Moyo on Tuesday, October 8 2013
A teachers’ group has expressed concern over the victimisation of its members, who have been sacked from their jobs for participating in the July 31st polls.
The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), which has 15,000 members on its books, described the situation as “pathetic”, and comes amid reports that teachers in Masvingo are facing a war vets onslaught for allegedly being MDC-T.
The group’s president, Takavafira Zhou, said PTUZ offices were daily inundated by calls from teachers from all provinces who have been dismissed by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) for contesting the July 31st polls on an MDC ticket.
“What is peculiar is that all the teachers that have been dismissed or victimised are those who took part under the MDC formations.
“There are other teachers who participated on a ZANU PF ticket but have not been dismissed, such as Tinashe Mago in Zvishavane who won and is now a councillor but is still at his station. There is also Kudakwashe Hove, a headmaster, who also lost.
“We also have the deputy provincial education officer for Matebeleland South, Reuben Mabhena, who lost the ZANU PF primaries but has retained his position.
“We are concerned about what appears to be a selective and preferential application of the laws in Zimbabwe. This is unacceptable discriminatory practice and as a teachers’ union we won’t accept the victimisation of our members on the basis of their political affiliation,” Zhou said.
Zhou said the old constitution, which was in force during the July election, allowed civil servants to run for political office, with those who would have won then expected to resign.
“Those who are being fired neither resigned or gave notice to do so, and this is victimisation. The provisions of the new constitution that prohibits civil servants from running for political office are not yet in force as the laws haven’t been re-aligned,” Zhou added.
In July the CSC, then the Public Service Commission, gave civil servants the thumbs up to contest in the July elections, and set aside a provision for those who lost to re-apply for their jobs.
Initially, the workers had been they would lose their jobs if they contested, as they would be considered retired or resigned from service.
But the civil servants argued that there should be a guarantee for them to retain their jobs after the polls, forcing the CSC to give them the chance to re-apply.
Members who lost in local authority elections were given 30 days to apply for re-instatement, according to an August 30th Herald newspaper report quoting CSC head Pretty Sunguro.
The chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA), Sifiso Ndlovu, denied that teachers were being victimised. Ndlovu told SW Radio Africa that “he was not aware of any MDC activists who had lost their jobs” as his union was not affected by the dismissals.
Howeve, Zhou said he was not surprised by Ndlovu’s denials given the ZIMTA chief’s background.
“It is understandable given his background as a ZANU PF functionary who is also earmarked to be a chief in his home area of Hwange. So we would expect that from someone who dines and romances with the system,” Zhou added.
Since the July 31st elections several top ZANU PF officials, including Simon Khaya Moyo and Emmerson Mnangagwa, have urged their supporters to ensure that “the MDC is dead and buried” going into the 2018 elections. Some observers have said the ongoing victimisation and retribution against perceived MDC supporters is part of that project.
PTUZ official Zhou further accused Ndlovu of double standards and trying to appease both the ZIMTA membership and government by saying qualified teachers should earn $1,000 in line with regional trends.
“When we met as the Apex Council (a representative group for all civil service unions) it was Ndlovu who argued vehemently that Poverty Datum Line is $540 when we wanted it pegged at above $600.
“So we were taken aback to read in the press that ZIMTA was now saying they want $690 for the lowest paid civil servant. To us, he is a chameleon who when we go to government he advocates that we get less than other unions.
However, Ndlovu dismissed this, saying the PTUZ was misinterpreting ZIMTA’s standpoint. He said they were still advocating that the lowest paid civil servant, who can be a cleaner, be awarded $540 but wanted more for teachers.