Unions representing teachers are threatening to lobby their members to boycott businesses and products linked to the ruling Zanu PF elites.
Leaders of the country’s biggest teachers’ unions — the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Union (Zimta) and the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) — believe Zanu PF functionaries must pay a heavy price for being complicit in the economic meltdown.
PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government was reluctant to address the economic crisis that has seen prices of basic goods skyrocket and the local surrogate currency losing its value because Zanu PF mandarins were benefiting from ordinary citizens’ suffering.
“They are the authors of the problems we are facing because we know for certain that they are behind the illegal cash dealings in the country and by buying from their businesses we are perpetuating our suffering so it is time we consider boycotting those that we can easily identify,” Majongwe said.
“We also think that we should be paid in US dollars because when we negotiated the salaries we are getting, they were in that currency not bond notes. We continue to be given bond notes when their businesses are charging US dollars. We are consulting our membership to see how best we can take that action,” he said.
Zimta chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu weighed in saying the association was in the process of trying to establish businesses owned by ruling party politicians.
“At the moment, we do not know who among the ruling elite owns what; so we want to establish that first because it could turn out that it is not only Zanu PF politicians but what is clear to us as Zimta is that we find ourselves as teachers in the game of big fish and that it is the ruling elite, the majority of those in government, who are behind all this and we must take them head-on,” Ndlovu said.
Analysts said the strategy may not succeed given that the same teachers also desperately need goods and services provided by the ruling elite’s enterprises.
South African-based political analyst Ricky Mukonza said: “The teachers are obviously angry given that their salaries have seriously been eroded but they still need cooking oil and other goods and if they were to boycott, how will, they survive?”
He said civil servants must instead unite and engage in industrial action for them to be heard.