Gutu Teachers Flee Violence

Sibanda is accusing them of discouraging villagers to sign President Robert Mugabe’s anti-Sanction petition launched in Harare.

Sibanda told a rally at Rumizha primary school that war veterans and Zanu (PF) youths have since compiled a list of names of teachers who have been seen denouncing the anti- sanction petition.

The militant commander had been living in Gutu since January and led a terror campaign against perceived Zanu (PF) opposition supporters ahead of the anticipated elections which may take place this year. He has been also campaigning for the signatures of villagers to the petition.

A teacher who spoke to Radio VOP said hundreds of teachers deserted their schools following the threats announcement by Sibanda who labelled them sell-outs who deserved death as punishment.

“After those threats students were left with no teachers as a big number packed their bags and left in a huff for fear of their lives,” said a teacher at Dandavare School in Gutu east.

He added that teachers were afraid because they had been victims of political violence in all elections held in the country over the past decades and several lost their lives.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe(PTUZ), Masvingo provincial co-coordinator, Munyaradzi Chauke told Radio VOP: “Yes we have received reports from the generality of our membership that they have since left work in Gutu because of death threats from Jabulani Sibanda. We support the decision by teachers to flee their schools because life is precious and cannot just be lost as a result of politics in the country,” he said.

He added that his office had received reports that some schools were only left with their headmasters and lessons have since stopped a situation that could affect the school calendar.

“The situation there is bad. Students are no longer having lessons. If the situation continues schools in Gutu could be forced to close early and the implication on the school calendar and the education sector will be negative,” said Chauke.

Chauke said his Union was planning to take the matter to the Education Minister so that he will engage the three principals of the inclusive government to stop Sibanda from terrorising teachers in Gutu.

Another Teacher from Rumizha school said what also aggravated their fear was Sibanda made the announcement at a school were a teacher was murdered in broad day light by Zanu (PF) thugs during the June presidential elections run-off of 2008.

“What made the situation worse was that he was doing these threats at a school that still has fresh memories of an ugly scene of political violence when a teacher was murdered. So you see no one would wait for death,” said the teacher who preferred anonymity.