ZANU PF councillors in Mberengwa reportedly forced teachers to attend meetings to arrange how to rig the 2023 elections in favour of the ruling party.
CCC Midlands provincial spokesperson, Takavafira Zhou told The NewsHawks that the culprits are Mberengwa Rural District Council’s ward 10 Councillor Devilliers Mashavakure and ward 2 Councillor Cain Mahombera.
Contacted for comment, councillor Mahombera confirmed visiting schools in Mberengwa to have meetings with teachers.
He however denied the rigging allegations, saying the exercise was only meant to create ZANU PF cell structures.
A The NewsHawks source was quoted as saying Mashavakure disrupted learning at Chaza Primary School and Chomusenda Secondary School by holding a series of meetings with teachers on 7 July. Said the teacher:
In his address to teachers at Chomusenda Secondary, Mashavakure claimed he had been sent by the ‘President’s Office to recruit teachers who want to work with ZANU PF ahead of the 2023 elections.
He said in turn teachers who agreed to the scheme would get automatic positions as election officers on polling days where they will then get money from the government and the party. In short, he was announcing a plan to rig elections for ZANU PF.
He reportedly went on to compile a list of teachers he said had proved loyal to ZANU PF.
A teacher at Chaza Primary School said Mahombera also held a meeting at the school and compiled a list of the names of teachers “loyal” to ZANU PF. Said the teacher:
He did the same at Chaza Primary School. This incensed a lot of teachers.
In Ward 2, another Zanu PF councillor Mahombera did the same and conducted meetings in ward 2 listing names of teachers which he and his entourage deemed ZANU PF loyalists in order to allegedly become election officers in 2023.
They also claimed to be working with the CIO in this endeavour.
Mahombera said everyone who stayed in Mberengwa was supposed to be drafted into the ZANU PF cell structures. He said:
What we are saying is that not only teachers but soldiers and police officers or in short everyone must be in our cell structures which comprise 50 people each.
So the meetings I held with teachers were for the creation of party cells and had nothing to do with elections.
How can a person staying in our villages, whether it’s a teacher or not, be outside our books?
The teachers must be put into cells of our party so these are the meetings I was conducting and the names I compiled of teachers were for that purpose only, not for any plans on elections.
Zhou said ZANU PF councillors should remember that schools are institutions of learning and teaching.
The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president also implored the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to protect teachers from abuse by politicians. Zhou said:
We want to remind these rogue councillors that schools are institutions of learning and teaching, as well as politics free zones. We also appeal to Zanu PF to reign in on its rogue councillors.
The ministry of Primary and Secondary Education must also protect teachers from abuse, and remind school heads that schools must not be used for political activities and that whoever wants to give political lectures is not welcome in any school.