Teachers’ unions have criticised ZANU PF for disrupting learning in schools by forcing learners to attend rallies, holding political gatherings at school premises and using school buses to transport supporters to rallies.
This comes after pupils at Chaminuka Primary School in St Mary’s, Chitungwiza, were on Wednesday forced to attend a ZANU campaign rally that was addressed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president Obert Masaraure told NewsDay that they are preparing a court challenge, seeking an order barring political parties from using schools as campaign bases. Said Masaraure:
We do not want politicians in our schools. Our schools should never be abused in terms of private political beings.
In 2017, we reported the case of political interference to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission.
We are glad that at some point we had this commission issuing a damning report on ZANU PF condemning the abuse of schools, condemning the abuse of properties, condemning the dragging of learners and teachers to political rallies.
Zimbabwe National Teachers Union (ZNTU) president Manuel Nyawo also said the holding of political rallies at schools “is not ideal”. He said:
It is not ideal for politicians to hold rallies on school premises because we have always called for the depoliticisation of learning institutions.
We are not politicians and schools are not political grounds for politicians and, therefore, we appeal to these politicians to stay away from using school premises as rallying points for politics.
Learners have already lost precious learning time as the start of the first term was delayed by a month due to COVID-19.
When schools eventually reopened on 7 February, teachers went on a strike demanding a pay rise, further disrupting learning.
Top Harare lawyer Thabani Mpofu chided ZANU PF PF top officials for alleged hypocrisy by disrupting learning at schools in poor suburbs while their children enrolled at elite schools do not experience such disruptions. He tweeted:
Does it not bother you that these children have not been attending school because you were not prepared to pay their teachers?
Now you require them to fritter away their precious school time listening to rubbish.
Does this happen kuvana venyu (to your children)? You even “close” maSowe (church gathering). Hamunyari (You have no shame).