Teachers4ED, an association of teachers widely known to be supporting President Mnangagwa’s bid for re-election in 2023 is a trade union organisation and teachers are free to attend its meetings during working hours, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education spokesperson, Taungana Ndoro has said.Ndoro said this in response to questions raised in connection with several teachers and school heads who attended a Zanu PF orientation meeting organised for ED affiliates on Wednesday at a time that they were supposed to be in class. The meeting was held in Masvingo.
“As a Ministry, we recognise Teachers4ED as a union and as such members are allowed to participate in its activities as long as they undertake proper clearance procedures from their work stations,” said Ndoro.
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president, Takavafira Zhou however, disagreed with Ndoro and said the teachers’ grouping is not a union. He said all unions have a constitution and are registered with the Ministry of Labour.
He described the Ministry’s stance as null and void. He also said that Teachers4ED cannot be a union because it does not represent the interests of teachers. Unlike other unions Teachers4ED groups together employers and workers with school headmasters being the leaders.
Masvingo Provincial Education Director (PED), Shylette Mhike reiterated what Ndoro said and said people should not confuse the ED acronym with Emmerson Mnangagwa. She said that ED stands for Economic Development.
“Teachers for ED is not a union. Unions are registered with the Ministry of Labour and remember this so called union does not in any way stand for teachers’ plight,” said Zhou.
The meeting that the teachers attended was an orientation event which was superintended over by Masvingo Zanu PF political commissar, Brain Munyoro hence many people think Teachers4ED is a political outfit fronting Emmerson Mnangagwa’s 2023 election campaign. There were 24 other ED affiliates including Health Ambassadors for ED, Pastors for ED, Cross Border Traders for ED, Mahwindi for ED at the meeting.
Prominent teachers at the meeting were the Minister of State, Ezra Chadzamira’s wife, Euphrasia who is a teacher at Gaths Mine Primary in Mashava and Mucheke Christian College head, Edmore Muresherwa. The teachers like all others in the gathering were doing Zanu PF slogans at the meeting.
Teachers from across the education sector have been complaining that the ED grouping is being used to victimise non-members. They allege that non-members were being left out of workshops, training programmes or any other Government programmes that may have some financial windfall.
“There is a lot of insecurity among teachers as a result of this association. Those who are not members of Teachers4ED are being sidelined in Government programmes. The education system has been turned into a political landscape and it is those teachers with political instincts who will survive and this is a death blow to education,” said a teacher who declined to be named.