The Zimbabwe Statistical Agency (Zimstat) has released several teachers who had been hired and trained as enumerators for the national population census and replaced them with ZANU PF youths.
The teachers were fired from the programme for allegedly participating in the strike which took place in February when schools opened for the first term.
Teacher enumerators who had just completed training at Bulawayo Polytechnic told NewZimbabwe.com that they were asked to hand over their census material to ZANU PF youths and leave the venue on Saturday. One of the teachers said:
All along, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency has been using state resources to train us, only to be told when we are about to be deployed that we were on strike and therefore we are not suitable for the job.
For starters, I have never been on strike. Now, who is going to pay me for the time I spent while undergoing the enumeration training?
Another affected teacher, who is now contemplating suing Zimstat for breach of contract, said the move is cruel, vindictive and illegal. Said the teacher:
The move to suspend teachers was declared illegal by the High Court.
Why are the government and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education so petty to the extent of denying the suffering teachers an opportunity to earn extra income for their children?
Zimstat spokesperson, Mercy Chidemo, said she had no information about the alleged incident at Bulawayo Polytechnic but said teachers who were deemed to be on strike were barred from participating in the census. She said:
I am not really sure about what happened, but I am sure you are aware of a memo that was sent to PSC [Public Service Commission] that they should not hire teachers who were on strike.
So, in this case, the PSC coordinators were responsible for recruiting the enumerators.
There were teachers that were on incapacitation/strike that had sneaked into classes.
So the PED (provincial education director) said they should not participate and they sent them packing yesterday evening.
They were replaced by other teachers from MoPSE (Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education).