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teachers beaten up, forced to eat chalk in crackdown
February 22, 2007
HARARE – Police
yesterday immediately followed a ban on political rallies and protests
in the capital’s restive townships by beating up schoolteachers
striking over low salaries.
The attack on
teachers at several schools in Harare came after weekend clashes
between anti-riot police and opposition Movement for Democratic
Change supporters who had gathered in the high-density suburb of
Highfield for a High Court-sanctioned rally.
also came as the main Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) announced
it had joined the strike started by the smaller but militant Progressive
Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) on February 5.
the majority of Zimbabwe’s 96 000 teachers and their resolution
to join the strike might have incensed the government.
details reportedly stormed Shiriyedenga, Ruvheneko and Chembira
schools in the high-density suburb of Glen Norah, allegedly assaulting
teachers and forcing some of them to eat chalk.
said schoolchildren had to scurry home, with some scaling perimeter
fences and walls to safety.
“I went for
an in situ inspection at the affected schools in Glen Norah
but when I got there they had been closed,” said PTUZ secretary-general
“There was nobody
at the schools but we got reports that children had to stampede
out of schools as soldiers harassed and beat up teachers. We understand
they also went to schools in Epworth (a semi-urban settlement just
outside Harare),” added Majongwe.
Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena could not be reached for
government last week called in the military and spy agents to intimidate
teachers into backing off the industrial action, which Education
Chigwedere said was meant to serve a “political agenda”.
Mugabe, who turned 83 yesterday, is battling to preempt possible
civil unrest as doctors, nurses, university lecturers and lately
schoolteachers strike to press for higher remuneration and better
for anyone to say the teachers’ action is a political issue. It’s
a matter of life and death because surely one cannot survive on
a monthly salary of $84 000,” Majongwe said.
among the worst paid civil servants, earning between $84 000 and
$150 000 – meaningless figures with inflation nearly 1 600 percent
and the breadline pegged at $460 000 for a standard family of five
the striking teachers might be fired and replaced or alternatively
have their salaries cut and withheld.
vowed the teachers would not end the strike until their demands
were met. “The strike continues as long as our minimal demands are
not met,” he said.
Tendai Chikowore said: “The action is countrywide and we won’t stop
until government comes up with something better.” - ZimOnline
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