Now that it is cast in stone that Robert Mugabe is the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe for another five years, the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) as a principled and non-aligned teacher union has the following as its minimum expectations from the next government:
Report by Raymond Majongwe
- An appointment of a very lean cabinet as the checkered history of the inclusive government has shown that a highly padded cabinet is a liability to the nation;
- An appointment of competent and corrupt-free ministers who will go beyond the call of duty. Merit rather than patronage and clientelism need to guide the president as he appoints his next cabinet.
- Removal of ghost workers from the government pay-roll, so that resources to reward genuine civil servants can be found.
- Channelling of proceeds from the sale of our gems into treasury for the benefit of everyone. This country cannot afford to be poor when it has more than 40 different minerals.
- A paradigm shift, so that we cease selling our minerals in their raw form, but start thinking about value-addition and beneficiation so that we maximise profit from our resources.
- An immediate amendment of the Public Service Act and section 203 (4) of the new Constitution, which takes collective bargaining rights away from civil servants and ensuring that there is a harmonisation of labour laws for all workers in this country.
- An establishment of a stand-alone sports ministry for the full development of sports in the country, rather than combining it with the ministry of Education.
- A full professionalisation of the teaching fraternity through establishing a Teaching Service Commission and a Teaching Profession Council for standards control, self-regulation and discipline of members.
- That education administrators are given proper training in both financial and human resource management to minimise recurrence of misconduct charges preferred on both teachers and school heads.
- That teachers are given poverty datum line- linked salaries, and ensuring that schools are turned into politics-free zones since well-paid teachers in safe schools have proved to be a pre-condition for quality public education.
- Ensuring an adequate budgetary allocation to the education ministry in line with the Dakar Declaration, which states that at least 22% of the national budget be allocated to education.
- An immediate amendment of section 200 (4) of the new Constitution which bans civil servants from participating in politics, as no woman ever went to a labour ward and declared that she was giving birth to either a president, prime minister or member of parliament. It is paranoid and downright illogical for a progressive government to ban civil servants who want to find their destiny in politics, as if being a politician is an ascribed status reminiscent of the medieval nobility.
As PTUZ, we will remain undiluted, unflinching and committed to standing for the supremacy of the welfare of teachers by rejecting systems that prioritise the defence of leadership interests at the expense of the generality of teachers through lobbying and advocacy.
- Raymond Majongwe is PTUZ Secretary-General