Zanu PF invades schools in hunt for votes

Obert Masaraure

ZANU PF is in the eye of a storm amid accusations that its officials are disrupting learning at schools, especially in rural areas as campaigning for the August 23 elections heats up.

This publication established that aspiring candidates and their supporters were sometimes holding campaign meetings at schools where they force teachers and learners to attend.

In 2018, Masvingo High Court Judge, Justice Joseph Martin Mafusire barred Zanu PF from abusing learners, teachers and school property in pursuit of personal political interests.

The United Nations (UN) welcomed the ruling saying it was in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child which states ‘that the best interests of the child must be the paramount consideration in every situation, and at all times.’

In Mutare, Citizens Coalitions for Change (CCC) aspiring candidate for Mutasa Central, Trevor Saruwaka, lodged a complaint with the Education ministry recently after accusing the Zanu PF candidate, Innocent Benza of launching his campaign at Vumbunu Primary School.

Educators Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general, Tapedza Zhou, said reports of lessons being disrupted by Zanu PF officials  were a cause for concern.

“The future of our children is by far more valuable than the 2023 elections that shall come and go like dew,” Zhou said

“Holding the whole nation at ransom, trivialising the education of our children and disregarding the constitution with impunity have no place in a civilised society and negate the spirit of the second republic.”

Zhou said learners should also not be exposed to violent campaigns.

“We all have a duty to be responsible enough to protect our future generations from political violence.”

“Learning must go on undisturbed.”

Amalgamated Rural Teachers of Zimbabwe leader, Obert Masaraure, condemned the disruption of lessons as barbaric.

“The former liberators are now dragging learners to political rallies, abusing school property for political gain and even abusing teachers in pursuit of private political interests,” Masaraure said.

“They have successfully made learning impossible in our schools.

“If these people remain in power the education of our children will be at risk. Zimbabwe needs a break from this barbarism.”

Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson, Taungana Ndoro, said he was not aware of such allegations when contacted for comment.

Zanu PF spokesperson, Christopher Mutsvangwa, said the ruling party was not disrupting any lessons.

“We know where this is coming from,” Mutsvangwa said.

“Zanu PF as a revolutionary party we value education and we are not fools to disrupt lessons.”

In 2018, legislative watchdog Veritas and the Association of Rural Teachers Unions of Zimbabwe went to the High Court challenging Zanu PF for forcing school authorities to provide transport and other services for its supporters to rallies as well as forcing schoolchildren to attend political rallies.

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