Union Calls For Strike As Headmaster Commits Suicide

The Programmes and Communications Officer of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), Oswald Makomborero Madziva said: “While the union does not condone abuse of public funds, the eclipse of misery and deprivation in the teachers is driving them into the devil’s workshop.”

“This is just but one of the cases of the vertical and horizontal conflicts which teachers are experiencing in the schools. Schools have become a war zone between parents and teachers with corrupt school development committees and school heads lining their pockets.

“The PTUZ firmly believes in one war to end all wars – a decisive and issue laden strike action.”

The death of the headmaster identified only as a Mr Mashamba was closely linked to a meeting which was convened by the School Development Committee and attended by parents, the local councillor and some police details. At the meeting parents were reported to have demanded a financial report on how the school used the money which parents paid for incentives for teachers.

It is alleged that teachers at the school were never paid incentives despite the US10 termly contribution per child which parents paid towards school levies. Allegations were that Mashamba failed to give a satisfactory explanation and the bitter parents threatened to report the matter to the police.

A day after the meeting,  Mashamba travelled to his rural home in Gutu where he allegedly took poison and died.

The PTUZ said it was saddened by this development which epitomises the union’s year old argument that incentives will work against teachers.

Teachers in Zimbabwe, like most civil servants, are earning about US$160. They want this increased to US$ 600 a month.