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  • Strikes and Protests 2007/8 - Teachers and Lecturers

  • Majongwe threatened with death as police urge teachers to strike
    Henry Makiwa, SW Radio Africa
    September 28, 2007

    Visit the index of articles on the teachers' strikes

    The leader of a combative teachers union, Raymond Majongwe, alleges that Zimbabwe's feared secret police have threatened him with death for calling a teachers strike that has crippled the country's education system.

    Majongwe who heads the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), says he has received "uninvited guests" at his family home and telephone calls from "strange characters" since he called for teachers to go on a job action in protest at poor salaries. On Thursday night Majongwe alleges that he received a phone call from a male voice on a mobile number 0912 855 042, warning him that "death was staring him in the face." He says after cutting off his phone, he then received a mobile text that read: "You are stupid, and you will soon get into hot soup."

    Majongwe said: "My wife and children have been receiving threats for so long now but the one on my life on Thursday night was the most patent one. We however refuse to be intimidated because we know who our assailants are and they cannot defy our justified cause."

    He went on to say that "the strike, now in its third week, continues and we know the entire civil service force is behind us because they know that if we succeed, they also get a redress of their salaries from government."

    On Thursday, sections of the police in Masvingo reportedly visited Rujeko and Victoria primary schools where a scattering of teachers were holding classes, and ordered them to send the children home and quit duties "like all the others across the country."

    According to sources, the members of the police force who visited the two schools and told the teachers that they should go on strike and force the government to address not only the pay plight of teachers, but of all civil servants. The police and soldiers and other security forces are not allowed to strike under the country's security codes.

    Elsewhere, parents and teachers associations at government schools in Zaka, Mhondoro and Chinhoyi have reportedly threatened to evict teachers out of school residences if they proceed with the strike.

    Majongwe described the development as "regrettable" emphasising that the teachers sympathised with the parents but desperately needed their salaries re-dressed.

    Some teachers in Zimbabwe are earning as little as Z$2 million, less than 3 pounds sterling on the black market. A fortnight ago, teachers spurned a 100 percent salary increment from government, demanding instead a Z$15 million basic salary plus a Z$5,2 million housing allowance and Z$4 million transport recompense.

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