The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) have described 2019 as a difficult year as the state of used abduction and torture to silence them from speaking out against the welfare of teachers.
Reflecting on the year, ARTUZ president Obert Masaraure said the president Emmerson Mnangagwa led administration used brutal force to try and deal with protests.
“Our members have been victims of abduction and torture by the state to silence us when we were demanding a living wage,” said Masaraure.
According to the union, seven cases of abduction were recorded in 2019.
“Obert Masaraure was abducted twice in Harare, Robson Chere twice in Goromonzi, Munyaradzi Ndawana once in Chinhoyi, Godfrey Chanda once in Gweru and Mackswell Basiyavo once in Guruve,” he said.
“These abductions were clearly orchestrated by the State given the weapons that were carried by the abductors, some of the victims would end up being dumped in police cells.”
Masaraure said victimisation of teachers will have a negative impact on the education sector.
“We have a paranoid government running our nation. They are afraid because they know people are angry with their gross incompetence and wholesale looting. The government does not care for the livelihoods of the people.
“Victimisation of teachers spells disaster for our education, teachers are highly demoralised and this will negatively impact on service delivery. Social services are likely to collapse across all sectors and the majority of our people will sink into deeper poverty,” he said.
Masaraure said hopes of reforms continue to evaporate as the human rights situation continues to worsen.
“The human rights situation is worsening by the day and all hopes of reforms have evaporated. The ARTUZ social welfare secretary also recorded 29 arrests, 31 salary cessation, 12 evictions from school residence and 1 157 union-based discrimination,” he said.
Masaraure said they will continue to take the fight to the government and will push for the restoration of social services and improvement of livelihoods of the ordinary citizen.