Teachers and other civil servants in Buhera District have been ordered to contribute financially to the Heroes’ Day celebrations on 11 August.
Zimbabwe’s civil servants are some of the lowest-paid government workers in the SADC region and the contributions which they have been asked to make “without fail” will leave them in deeper poverty.
The funding follows a resolution made at a heads of Government departments meeting held on Tuesday last week.
The heads of Government Departments will pay US$5, middle supervisors or managers such as headmasters, and senior teachers will pay US$3 while teachers and other workers will pay US$1.
The letter written to government workers by Buhera District Schools’ Inspector (DSI) Mutomba reads in part:
On behalf of the District Schools Inspector (DSI), I hereby make the following announcement and encourage all our members to participate, as resolved at a heads of government departments meeting held Tuesday in preparation for the annual heroes’ district commemoration.
Mutomba confirmed the arrangement to The Mirror saying all payments were expected by the end of last month. He said:
The letter is authentic. It was written after a resolution made by heads of Government departments. As is the norm, civil servants must contribute to the celebrations without fail.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) secretary-general Robson Chere said they have instructed their members not to pay. Said Chere:
Our members are incapacitated and we instructed them not to pay. The salaries that teachers are being paid are not even enough for basic needs.
Government must find alternative ways of fundraising for such national events. Asking money from workers who themselves are not able to meet their basic needs is abusing civil servants.
More: The Mirror