By Dr Takafira Zhou and Raymond Majongwe.
Reports reaching PTUZ offices point to the extension of central intelligence organisation’s theatre of operation to all schools in Zimbabwe.
Former Director of CIO and Editor in chief of ‘The Patriot’ news paper Prichard Zhou summoned all school heads (through the DSI, Shirichena) in Mberengwa on 15 June 2018 at Mberengwa administrative centre for political reorientation and patriotic lessons. The reorientation stretched from slave trade to colonialism, liberation struggle, patriotism and support of Zanu pf. School heads were told in clear terms to ensure that the teachers under them, pupils and communities near their schools should support Zanu pf and that they were the flag bearers for such an agenda or else they would suffer unspecified consequences. Why a retired Director of CIO would engage in such drilling and so called reorientation of school heads from 08.00 hrs to 16.00hrs and order them to support Zanu pf, baffles logic and common sense in a democratic society 38 years after independence. It is also nauseating that the DSI had purpotedly called the school heads for an educational workshop only to give them a Zanu pf political diet. Under normal circumstances such a DSI would be fired for abuse of office and school heads.
In the same week several teachers and pupils were summoned by the same DSI to attend a workshop at Mbuyanehanda High School only to find that there was no workshop but a Zanu pf gathering addressed by retired Generals and lobbying people to vote for Zanu pf in the forthcoming elections. Several such meetings are called throughout the country where school heads and teachers are ordered to vote for a certain political party. Above all lessons have been disturbed and teachers and pupils ordered to attend political gatherings by the provincial directors throughout the country. Such disruption of schools is not only callous but a monument of Zimbabwean injustice, more so given the fact that it disrupts lessons and violates pupils’ rights to education and teachers’ freedoms. Above all, it violates the Ptuz and global quest for schools as politics free zones. Fundamentally, political campaigns have ensured that there are so many disruptions of meaningful teaching and learning in schools which in essence must be condemned by all civilised communities.
While statutory instrument 45 of 1998 states that registered teacher unions have access to schools and teachers even during working hours Ptuz officials were informed in no uncertain terms after getting letters of clearance from the respective province and districts that they had to be cleared by the CIO in order to distribute union regalia to members in Mashonaland East. This militarisation of schools is as unfortunate as it is ill conceived.
We appeal to all political parties to ensure that their campaigns have no effect to teaching and learning in schools. We also remind all and sundry that schools are institutions of teaching and learning and not theatres of political contestation and control. We appeal to Ministry officials to ensure that sanity prevails in schools and that they must not be part of teachers’ and pupils’ problems but part of the solution. Ptuz does not take lightly the incessant disruptions of teaching and learning in schools throughout the country and appeals to all level headed Zimbabweans to be part of the solution to the quagmire facing our schools.
Viva Ptuz viva
Dr Takavafira Zhou – President
Raymond Majongwe – SG
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