Some schools had managed to persuade teachers to go to work on Wednesday and Thursday but the headmasters’ joy did not last long as soldiers ambushed them and ordered teachers to go home.
A visibly frightened teacher from Victoria High School said he was teaching when a group of soldiers arrived in their uniforms and asked why they were teaching. He said they did not listen to any explanation.
“They just told us to go home since everyone was expected to be on strike. Although we were not beaten, it was surprising and frightening that soldiers would come to tell us to go home,” said the teacher who requested anonymity.
From Victoria High School, soldiers visited Ndarama, Masvingo Christian and Mucheke High School. They found business as usual at Mucheke High and they called all the teachers before threatening unspecified action were they to continue with lectures.
Although the Provincial Education Director (PED) Clara Dube needed to make investigations before giving a comment, teachers and students who spoke to VOP said they were still in shock.
“I did not receive any complain, I always prefer to investigating before commenting,” said Dube.
It is not common to see soldiers and other uniformed forces advocating for an industrial action.
“Our teachers unions were persuading us to go for a strike but because of the incentives that we get from parents, we feel we owe these students money if we don’t teach them. It was however, shocking to see those who used to beat us to return to work coming to force us to do the opposite, I can’t believe it,” said another teacher.
Civil servants are currently having negotiations with the government so that the minimum salary be pegged above the poverty datum line.