ARTUZ condemns in strongest terms the repetitive use of Mugabe’s tactics by President Munangagwa and ZANU PF to abuse children and teachers’ rights and calls upon government to implement the recommendations by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) or face legal action in the highest courts of the land. Education is a fundamental right and that right must be respected.
The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) in 2017 published a report in which it observed that teachers and learners were being forced to participate in the political activities of Zanu Pf contrary to the provision of Section 86(b) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. This section provides for the rights of children and guarantees that they shall not be compelled to be part of any political gathering.
ARTUZ then launched the Safe Schools Campaign aimed at ensuring that the security and safety of teachers and learners is safeguarded before, during and after the 2018 plebiscite.
The Union also approached the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) raising a complaint of gross violations of both children and teachers’ rights. The commission made various recommendations to the Political Parties, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and to Parliament. Besides these stakeholders being furnished with the Report, none of them have responded or given indication regarding how it intends to implement them.
On the 25th of April ARTUZ wrote a follow up communique to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education demanding compliance with ZHRC recommendations.
On Monday, 11 June 2018 at a rally at Chizanga Primary School in Mutoko, several schools from Maramba, Uzumba and Pfungwe had to suspend learning as teachers and school children were forced to attend the Zanu Pf rally where President Munangagwa addressed. Friday 15 June 2018 was the same scenario in Masvingo where learning was literary suspended in schools around town including Mucheke High School as President Munangagwa was set to address in Mucheke Stadium. This flies in the face of the recommendations in the Investigative Report by Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC).
ARTUZ also calls on SADC, the AU and UN agencies to put pressure on the Zimbabwean government to honour its obligation by barring political activities in schools in line with our “Safe Schools Campaign.”
Source: Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ)