By Staff Reporter
PROGRESSIVE Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Ptuz) president, Takavafira Zhou has urged the naming and shaming of school heads and other officials who are reportedly forcing teachers to contribute monies towards the Zanu PF extraordinary congress December this year.
Zhou, in a message he circulated to members of the teachers group Thursday, described the practice as extortion.
“We therefore urge Ptuz members to forward names of school heads, DSIs, DAs and any other people who are forcing teachers to make contributions, to my app and SG’s app or our Ptuz Facebook page so that we can publicly name and shame these extortionists,” Zhou said.
This follows continued reports of militant Zanu PF followers visiting schools especially in rural Mashonaland provinces asking for donations of between $1 and $8 from teachers for a Zanu PF congress which officials say requires $8 million to pull through.
Most teachers who still recall acts of victimisation during the 2008 elections and other violent political episodes are forced to make contributions as they fear the unknown.
Zhou said DAs, DSIs and some school heads are putting pressure on teachers to pay amounts ranging from $1 to $5 towards Zanu PF December congress.
He said those contributing must do so on their own volition as opposed to being forced to do so.
“As Ptuz, we remind all and sundry that schools are institutions of learning and teaching, not extortion and partisan politics.
“At any rate it is Ptuz’s long held view that schools must be made politics free zones so that meaningful learning and teaching may ensure, more so in light of the forthcoming elections in which there must be a zero violence against teachers,” Zhou said.
President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF has often denied intimidating anybody, let alone the country’s educators to make contributions towards party functions.
Teachers in Bindura were September this year allegedly forced to contribute towards President Mugabe’s youth interface rally in the Mashonaland Central province.
But the claims were later denied by Rural Development minister Abednego Ncube.
“That is a misrepresentation. When we seek for donations we ask those who can and those who can’t or don’t want are not forced. Our party does not force anyone, so those are lies that people are being forced to tell,” he said.
Zanu PF spokespersons have refused to talk to the media over the latest claims of intimidation.