Progressive Teachers’ Union Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has no doubt that the attack on us has officially begun as shown by the letter to the editor by someone going by the pseudonym The African Legacy in the October 15 2017 edition of the Sunday Mail.
The article was titled, Teachers don’t trust the PTUZ agenda. Unfortunately, the authors of this article forgot to hide their identity. This letter is pregnant with falsehoods and half truths that we cannot let go unchallenged.
For the record, PTUZ refused to sign the Teaching Professions Council (TPC) Draft as a matter of principle and
we have nothing to apologise for. Unlike other unions who see nothing wrong with this draft in its present state, we see everything wrong with it. Processes determine outcomes.
We are aware that there are attempts to create a TPC Bill supported by the usual sell-out unions. It should be on record that PTUZ has at no time, whether real or imagined, opposed the creation of a properly constituted, autonomous, independent and self-regulatory TPC as alleged in that letter, which is littered with hatred and misrepresentation of facts whose magnitude is not only shocking, but also unprecedented.
While we support the letter and spirit of a proper TPC, we cannot allow it to be an extension of the ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. There is an international best practice for all of us to benefit from. The TPC is not and should not be a disciplinary arm of the ministry. Why are our officials so trigger-happy to start firing now? They have unfortunately exposed themselves.
In the meetings we have had, all the other unions are supporting that the minister runs the show and dictates the whole process. It is their democratic right to sell-out as usual, but all we are saying is that this attitude of labelling is futile.
PTUZ represents teachers who know their rights and are fully behind their leadership. Furthermore, let it be on record that we have no political agenda as being insinuated by the sponsored authors of the said letter. This letter is the work of political cowards who thrive on name-calling and intimidation. We, however, want to assure them that we will not be cowed into silence, neither will we salivate at a poisoned carrot. We will not stop speaking out, whatever the cost will be.
We have said the new curriculum was hurried and chaotic, and we still say so. We have said terror in our schools must stop, and we still say that without any fear or favour. We maintain the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) shoddiness must be condemned in the strongest of terms. Our school heads and teachers in rural Zimbabwe deserve better respect than this.
Our salaries have remained static for the past six years and inflation has made our same meagre salaries useless.
We know our rejection of the housing initiative has left some people in government bitter with the union, and the list is endless.
We want to categorically state that PTUZ is an independent union, which unfortunately has been viewed as an enemy by some people in government since our formation on October 5 1997.
We had to engage in a protracted two-year legal battle with the government in order to be registered, which we finally achieved hands down on March 29 1999. We know they are sponsoring some people to destabilise our operations as PTUZ. We are also aware that politically-motivated investigations are underway to incapacitate the Union. Manje manyangira yaona [we are aware of your intentions] and we will not change our stance.
We are keen to meet President Robert Mugabe even though there are some people in the ministry who have made serious misrepresentations to his honourable office for reasons best known to themselves.
The misrepresentions made to the president that we want children taught European history exclusively is at best pathetic and unfounded and at worst, malicious and without any shred of truth.
We would like to categorically state herein that people must allow us to state our own case without mischievously choosing to misrepresent us as the authors of this letter attempted in vain.
For the record, PTUZ is here to stay and those who wish it away are in for a rude awakening. We will not be intimidated into silence, never and ever!! We will continue speaking without any fear or favour no matter what it takes.
• The Standard would like to apologise for the mistake in the physical copy of the paper where the headline was not in any way related to the letter from PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe. Any inconvenience is sincerely regretted. — Editor