‘Army Impostors Intimidating Teachers’
THE Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) has accused rogue civilians masquerading as soldiers of moving around intimidating teachers.
This came after teachers unions last week complained of harassment and intimidation of their members in Mutare by suspected Zanu PF activists and State security agents.
Government is locked in a wage dispute with teachers who declared incapacitation at the beginning of the first term on February 7, demanding a pre-October 2018 salary of US$540 or its equivalent in local currency.
But ZNA spokesperson Colonel Alphios Makotore yesterday denied soldiers’ involvement, adding that they had identified one impostor.
“Following investigations, military police accosted a bogus criminal who was pretending to be a soldier at Green Market, Mutare,” Makotore said.
But Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou insisted that were some “security personnel” intimidating teachers.
“We are aware of rogue elements — be they security forces or Zanu PF party functionaries harassing teachers across the country. We condemn such actions and appeal to police and party officials to rein in these rogue elements,” Zhou said.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Obert Masaraure said: “Soldiers should realise that they are not unionised and have no right to collective bargaining. The teachers’ battle is the soldier’s battle. When teachers’ salaries are improved, then the soldiers will also benefit.”
Mutare Central legislator Innocent Gonese said the army had no role to play in wage disputes between government and its employees.
Government has threatened to fire striking educators, with more than 50 school heads and 32 teachers already suspended for not reporting for work.