‘A teacher affects eternity: he can never tell where his influence stops.’ –Henry Adams
As a young feminist organisation that values education as a tool that rewrites the history of girls, young women and women across the globe and cherishes the history of education in Zimbabwe, we are enraged by the imprisonment of Sheila Chisirimunhu. A primary school teacher of over 30 years’ experience, cannot be criminalised for peacefully demanding a salary that suits her level of education and experience as well as commensurate with the current high cost of living in this country.
She is a 53-year-old mother and breadwinner with 5 dependents that look up to her for love, care, and support. In a country that boasts of over 90% literacy rate, the government must walk the talk by rewarding our educators with a wage that fits the dignity of the esteemed teaching profession to which they belong to.
Taking a closer look at the facts of Sheila’s case, it is a further arbitrary muscular attempt to silence the voice of women who participate and add their voice to national governance issues. We note with concern that a trend to violate the rights of women leaders in Zimbabwe is unfortunately and undeservingly gaining momentum. Earlier on this year we bemoaned the abduction and torture of three young women leaders; Honourable Joannah Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Nestai Marova, and to date the perpetrators have not been brought to book.
The 2013 Constitution awards every worker with the express right to strike. Section 65 under the Bill of rights reads as follows:
“Except for members of the security service, every employee has the right to participate in collective job action including the right to strike”
The supreme law of the land further bestows on each Zimbabwean more elaborate rights: s61 freedom of expression, s56 right to equality and non-discrimination, s59 freedom to demonstrate and petition and s80 the rights of women. For the above reasons we demand freedom for Sheila
We call for:
1. The immediate release of Sheila Chisirimunhu from the custody of the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services.
2. Commensurate monetary compensation for the undue pain and suffering endured by her during her illegal incarceration.
3. The criminal record endorsed on her name to be expunged with immediate effect
Source: Institute for Young Women Development