Robson Nikita Chere
Growing up in the village, we had a neighbour who was dead from the neck upwards. This fool of a neighbour expended his energy on main things which were irresponsible drinking and beating up his wife and kids for complaining of pangs of hunger. I never thought my reckless and useless neighbour would become my government and employer in my adult working life.
Yesterday, the 12th of January 2022, the NJNC met in Harare for a useless talkshow vis-a-vis salaries of civil servants. ARTUZ correctly expected nothing to come out of the said talkshow and used the occasion to lawfully remind our employer about our salary concerns. ARTUZ was not demanding anything new from our employer. We were reasonably calling for a minimum salary of US$540 which we were earning in 2018.Is there any reasonable basis why teachers and other civil servants should become poorer every year? ARTUZ dismisses whatever nonsense that was discussed and resolved at yesterday’s NJNC and maintains that teachers and civil servants need and deserve a living wage not useless talk shows that escort dog tax.
As teachers under ARTUZ were peacefully and constitutionally demonstrating against the relegation of their concerns to trivia and the debasement of their profession, the employer saw it fit to unleash some semi literate fools in anti-riot gear on peaceful teachers. The thick headed goons went on to indiscriminately and randomly assault peaceful teachers whose whose only crime was to lawfully call for a living wage. As if the violence against teachers meted out by overzealous thugs masquerading as police details was not enough, 16 members of ARTUZ including President Obert Masaraure were arrested. As I write now, more than 12 hours after they have been detained, no charge has been preferred against them. They are simply being persecuted for demanding what is due to all civil servants.
ARTUZ takes great exception to the arrogance and bullying approach being employed by this regime.By now the government should have been aware that as ARTUZ we are simply allergic to fear hence can’t be cowed into submission by physical violence, arrests and lawfare. We want, for the umpteenth time, to make it categorically and unequivocally clear that we will never bow down to corrupt capitalistic machinations escorted by button sticks and handcuffs. We will continue to demand fair labour practice and a living wage. We will fight for our collective dignity in boardrooms, in the streets, in prison cells and in courts. Let it be known to Mr Munangagwa and his regime that ARTUZ is not there to sell out workers but to stand in solidarity with workers until all labourers reclaim their collective dignity.
Artuz demands the unconditional release of President Obert Masaraure and all Comrades who are being illegally detained. People are not arrested for peaceful demonstrations. Zimbabwe is not a Fascist state. ARTUZ would like to warn some excitable police details who takes pleasure in brutalising fellow poor civil servants. History is recording them for what and who they are and their day shall come. Those who take the side of evil are simply the devil incarnate. We will remember them as such.
Teachers of Zimbabwe, we are on our own. Let’s stick together as we fight for our mortal survival. We are the conscience of the nation. No one can take that away from us.
We continue to fight.
For and on behalf of ARTUZ
Comrade Robson Nikita Chere.