By Sij Ncube
Harare, May, 13, 2016 – CHURCH leaders have organised a peaceful national protest coupled with a schools boycott against education minister Lazarus Dokora’s imposition of a schools national pledge.
The church groups accuse President Robert Mugabe’s administration of being intent on destroying what used to be the strongest pillars of independence.
The controversial national pledge glorifies war veterans and the Zanu PF leadership and has torched strong resentment among teachers, parents and ordinary citizens.
Some concerned parents lodged an application with the Constitutional Court (Concourt) on the grounds the pledge is in fragrant violation of the constitution which promotes religious diversity and pluralism.
While parents await divine intervention and the outcome of the Con-Court application, church leaders said Thursday they were waiting for police clearance to stage a demonstration in Harare against the under fire Zanu PF minister.
The street protests tentatively set for May 16 is being organised by the Prayer Network Zimbabwe and is dubbed “Lets March Against Dokora”.
“What Zimbabweans are demanding is that the national pledge be taken out of our schools curriculum forthwith,” reads part of a petition by Prayer Network Zimbabwe shown to VOP.
“Bring back the Bible and Scripture Union to our schools.”
Two weeks ago, Dokora raised a stink when he suggested the government intended banning scripture unions from school but later appeared to climbing down, intimating he was quoted out of contest.
But be that as it may, the Prayer Network of Zimbabwe (PNZ) charges that Dokora and his top staff at the ministry should go for threatening the standards of education amid unconfirmed rumours in Harare the government intended introducing school uniforms for all primary and secondary education teachers.
PNZ said preparations for the protest and school boycott had reached an advanced stage, calling on all Christians regardless of their dominations to join the march on Monday next week.
“We are petitioning the government to put in place policies that are in the interest of our children and to never disregard the parents’ right to determine moral and religious upbringing of our children,” PNZ said in a statement, adding that parents and other disgruntled citizens should not to allow their children to recite the ‘evil’ pledge.
Government critics are adamant the administration was off-side over the national pledge, pointing out the need to accommodate other religions as per the new constitution.
Reward Mushayabasa, political analyst and former journalism lecturer now based in the United Kingdom, says churches are within their right in opposing the national pledge, saying it is a strong stand against all forms of dictatorship.
He said churches were among the few voices of sanity left in the country.
“It is so sad to see Zanu PF destroying what used to be one of the strongest pillars of our independence. It produced one of the highest literacy rates in Africa and one of the best talent pools to come out of Africa,” said Mushayabasa.
“It is sad most of these products are now working outside the country for reputable international organisations due to our government’s ineptitude and mismanagement of the economy.
“It’s now clear to all and sundry that Zanu PF is now in a dangerous suicidal mode.
“…But this is not surprising. Everything is now dysfunctional in the country from hospitals to local authorities But Zanu PF functionaries do not are.
“They do not send their families to local schools and hospitals; instead they send overseas where they get first class service while the majority of Zimbabweans wallow in poverty.