CIVIL servants yesterday claimed Zanu PF activists had set up terror campaign bases at various schools throughout the country, where they allegedly interrogated teachers and other public servants and warned them against participating in this week’s planned industrial action over poor working conditions.
Apex Council secretary David Dzatsunga said the 14-day deadline they gave to government to improve their welfare expires tomorrow, adding civil servants were likely to go on strike after that.
“Having met today (yesterday) to interrogate the $300 million offer that government presented to us and the 22,7% cushion from the government, the Apex Council contents that the problem of incapacitation is yet to be addressed as the offers from government fall short, in our calculation, by $1 219 (real time gross settlement or bond) for the lowest paid worker,” Dzatsunga said.
“The Apex Council will not be liable for whatever happens thereafter,” he said, with Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association leader Richard Gundane saying they would consult their membership for the way forward.
Dzatsunga told journalists that they were now more worried about the victimisation of their members by non-government actors.
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said some Zanu PF activists had set up bases at some schools.
“We have noted with concern that there are Zanu PF party activists that are visiting several schools in rural Zimbabwe, getting names and log-in sheets,” he said.
“Some of them are in Manicaland province, Mashonaland’s Chikomba and Mudzi, where Zanu PF activists have actually gone to set up bases in these schools and are taking note of which teacher is there or not, including in Matabeleland South and others.
“We believe that it is not Zanu PF’s business to interfere with school operations. It is wrong, Zanu PF activists, in whatever capacity, have no business visiting schools and I think the Public Service Commission made this point very clear that it is not the duty and responsibility of any political party to visit schools and setting terms.”
Majongwe said they would not name the affected teachers for fear of exposing them to further victimisation.
Apex Council chairperson Cecilia Alexander said no political party had a right to victimise civil servants.
“Intimidation targeting civil servants by politicians is in bad taste and we are not taking it lightly. Apex Council is apolitical, which means that we are not involved in anything to do with politics,” she said.
“We are saying those intimidating workers, whether they are from the ruling party or MDC, this is purely a labour issue and they must leave us alone.”
However, Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo professed ignorance over the alleged victimisation of civil servants by party members and urged the civil servants to report the matter to police.
“Why can’t they give us a report, we don’t know anything about that. Can they give a report to the police, we know nothing about that. If they feel aggrieved, they must report to the police. That is the function of the police,” he said.
But Guruve district schools inspector Pinias Dambuza confirmed receiving reports of Zanu PF officials who disrupted lessons at Nyamangore Secondary School on Tuesday, demanding to hold their meeting in one of the classrooms.
“I received the report from the school head, so I am planning to go on the ground to interview teachers, students and parents on the matter so as to give my superiors the correct version,” Dambuza said. A teacher, who requested anonymity, said Zanu PF officials, clad in party regalia, demanded the use of a classroom, creating a tense environment at the school.
“The officials came and demanded a classroom during learning hours, around noon, and since we were afraid of victimisation, the school head complied and lessons had to stop,” the teacher said.
“Fear gripped many of us since we were part of the schools that were forced to close during the fuel prices protests last week.”
A Zanu PF central committee member, Eleven Kambizi, confirmed the meeting, claiming they had been cleared by the school head to use one of the classrooms.
“We had our meeting at the school around 12 noon, yes, but it was raining so the local leadership asked for shelter and we were given a classroom. I don’t think lessons were disrupted by our emergency meeting,” Kambizi said.
This also comes amid reports that over 60 parents in Mutoko besieged Chimoyo Primary School early this week and ordered all the teachers to vacate the area for allegedly participating in last week’s nationwide protests over fuel price hikes.