Teachers’ unions claim 25 000 teachers who had been trained as enumerators for the forthcoming national population census have been expelled from the programme.
According to a Zimstat spokesperson, Mercy Chidemo, the teachers who were expelled were on incapacitation/strike and had sneaked into the programme.
Progressive Teachers Unions of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou said the expulsion of teachers from the programme is to open up space for ZANU PF activists. Said Zhou:
There has been the expulsion of teachers from the census programme. More than 25 000 teachers have already been expelled from the current exercise.
We had legally notified our employer, the PSC that the teachers were incapacitated.
So the legal issue is not between the Primary and Secondary Education ministry and teachers, but it is between the PSC and teachers.
There seems to be a political directive to punish teachers.
Teachers are the most qualified to conduct the census programme and they have experience.
It is just ZANU PF’s attempt to reward its foot soldiers.
It is unfortunate political expediency because we did not expect to see that 42 years after the country’s independence.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president Obert Masaraure said the teachers were expelled after signing contracts. He said:
We are looking at the case, we understand that some teachers who had gone for training as census enumerators had legitimate expectations from the employer, but they were expelled after signing the contracts.
So we will be investigating the matter and we are going to sue the government.
This demonstrates the high level of the vindictiveness of our government.
The Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) is set to run the 2022 national population census from April 21 to 30.
Previously, the Government said it will engage youths and civil servants for the census.