By Lance Guma
01 December 2010
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has expressed concern over the whereabouts of six teachers, thought to have been abducted by a state security agent in Rushinga on Wednesday. Only last Friday a labour court ordered that Julius Mawarire, Tinashe Mavurayi, Talent Muchakazi, Angela Zanza, Silibaziso Mawire and Maphios Chisora should be reinstated at Gwangwava Primary School.
This followed attempts by ZANU PF supporters, the headmaster Luckson Chidhidhi and the district education officer, Beauty Gasa, to get rid of them from the school. The teachers are being victimised because they dared to contribute during constitutional outreach meetings conducted in Rushinga, despite instructions from ZANU PF youths that they should keep quiet during the exercise.
PTUZ Secretary General Raymond Majongwe told SW Radio Africa that a state security agent known as Nkomo went to the school on Wednesday afternoon, driving an unmarked twin cab vehicle. He is said to have expressed an intention to abduct the teachers. The union by late afternoon had still not been able to locate the six teachers and said they were worried about their welfare.
Last month the Education Ministry intervened in the matter and transferred the teachers, as a way of protecting them. This however was overturned by the labour court who set aside the transfers and said they could only be done with the consent and input of the teachers. The teachers went back on Tuesday but by Wednesday the CIO had moved in to enforce the ZANU PF directive for them to leave.
Meanwhile the PTUZ have petitioned South African President Jacob Zuma and the United Nations to safeguard the lives of their members, who are being targeted by ZANU PF militants ahead of a possible constitutional referendum and elections next year. ‘We hold fears that the intelligence officers in Rushinga are baying for the blood of the teachers,’ Majongwe said.
The PTUZ has also fingered a ZANU-PF headman known as Mupezani, who they accuse of preaching ethnic hatred by declaring that he wants to get rid of all Karanga teachers in the area.