By Leopold Munhende
MDC-T Senator, Joyce Ndlovu Thursday confronted Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora (pictured) demanding answers on why his ministry allegedly allowed Shona speaking authors to write a Ndebele Grade 1 book which was published with some wrongly spelt Ndebele words.
“I would like to know whether you have withdrawn the book from the syllabus or it is still there?” Ndlovu said.
“Most of the things that are written in that book, the words are not correctly spelt. Why should you take a Shona speaking person to come and write a Ndebele book?
“Is it that there are no Ndebele speaking people who can write the book that you want as a Ministry? “
Among some of the spelling mistakes the legislator cited was the expression “Sekuthe dlwe” which was wrongly spelt as “Sekuthe dhlwe” on the cover of the book.
In his response, Dokora denied claims the government hired non-Ndebeles to write the book insisting most of the books used in schools were written by renowned organisations and further verified by officials within his ministry.
“Our experts informed us that there is nothing wrong with this,” he said.
“If you go to the social media, where this originated and is circulating, you will find that this word DLWE, they have added an H.”
Dokora also shifted the blame on social media which he said circulated false information on names of officials who authored the book.
“The authors of these books – you can see the misconception that media has; the authors are Maphosa, Ndudzo, Sebata Tumisani and Sigogo Nomalanga.
“You do not get these names being mentioned in the social media but the names which are being mentioned are those of Shona origin.
“Social media is distorting information, promoting tribalism and creating animosity among the people of Zimbabwe and the information they are giving is quite different from the book I am holding here. That is the truth of the matter.”
However, the tribal tensions often displayed in Zimbabwe’s bicameral legislative assembly were further displayed in a brief argument Dokora had with Ndlovu just as he started responding to the questions.
Attempts by Dokora to respond in Ndebele were met with a sharp retort by Ndlovu calling for the minister to respond in a language he was familiar.
Ndlovu, who had asked her question in Ndebele, insinuated the minister was committing the same alleged offence by attempting to respond in broken Ndebele. Dokora refused o heed her demands.
“I am exercising my constitutional right to express myself in a language I am comfortable with therefore I will not change my language of choice.
“You chose to use Ndebele, you cannot force me to use English,” responded Dokora in Ndebele.