Opposition ZSD slams teachers’ suspension

By Stephen Chadenga

Gweru based opposition Zimbabwe Socio-Economic Democrats (ZSD) has joined a cross section of people who have condemned government’s move to suspend striking teachers saying the latest development is “unethical and shocking due to its insensitive nature.”

Primary and Secondary Education minister Evelyn Ndlovu announced last Thursday that all officials who absented themselves when schools officially opened would be suspended without pay for three months.

ZSD president Nkosikhona Ndlovu told RadioVop that intimidating teachers who are fighting for an improvement in their working conditions had no space in a democratic society and described the move as “draconian.”

“The coercion of teachers into submission is draconian and has no space in a free and democratic society,” Ndlovu said.

“It goes against the co-values which our sons and daughters of Zimbabwe fought and divided for during the liberation struggle.

Instead of prioritising education, the Zanu PF led government is making personal battles with teachers a bigger priority.”

He said by regional standards teachers in the country ranked among the lowest in terms of remuneration and general working conditions.

“Instead the government makes no acceptable effort to improve their (teachers) socio-economic situation but finds solutions in threats and being oppressive,”said Ndlovu.

Last week constitutional law expert and opposition politician Lovemore Madhuku dismissed the suspension of teachers as illegal.

He said teachers could not be suspended from work by a government minister as they were employed by the Public Service Commission.

Various teachers’ unions in the country have maintained incapacitation by the educators to return to work.

They are demanding to be paid an equivalent of US$540 which they earned in 2018.

This week government increased teachers’ salaries by 20% among other incentives but workers say the move does not fully address their grievances.