By Nkosana Dlamini
ZIMBABWE’S rural teachers have vowed continued government confrontation over poor working conditions with Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president Obert Masaraure (pictured) declaring 2018 as year for the “restoration of teacher legacy”.
Masaraure said in an end of year message to his constituency that the coming in of new President Emmerson Mnangagwa did not inspire any confidence the fortunes of rural based educators would finally change for the better.
“Amidst this hopeless and doom, it is important to remind ED and his cabinet that rural teachers organising under the banner ARTUZ will not rest until our issues are addressed.
“It is our resolve as ARTUZ to ensure that our concerns as a community are fully addressed. We have therefore declared 2018 as year for the restoration of teacher legacy,” Masaraure said in a statement.
The expression, restore legacy, was popularised by the country’s military whose intervention November last year forced long serving President Robert Mugabe to surrender his job over a slew of crimes of commission and omission.
During Mugabe’s tenure, rural teachers continuously waged a protracted struggle to push for a “respectable wage, decent working conditions, an all-inclusive Teachers Professional Council and review of the new curriculum among a plethora raw deals currently offered to the teaching community”.
Said Masaraure, “In 2018, we will escalate the struggle for a compensatory rural allowance and we will further demand the scrapping of the opaque pension contribution.”
Zimbabwe’s broader teachers’ movement has also expressed disquiet over a recent decision by the Mnangagwa led government to place civil servants under the supervision of the Office of the President and Cabinet.
The most vocal section of the country’s bloated civil service says this was an attempt by the new office bearers “to muzzle and stifle the voice of civil servants especially teachers who are usually labeled as regime change agents for standing for their constitutional rights”.