Teachers report interrogation by CIOs over elections

Teachers who served as polling agents and presiding officers during elections were routinely questioned by security agents after the polls, while a vetting process before the elections qualified only those considered “politically correct” by ZANU PF. This is according to findings in a survey by the main teachers union.

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) told journalists in Harare on Tuesday that they interviewed 1,152 teachers about their experiences with elections in the years 2002 and 2008.

Programmes officer Oswald Madziva told SW Radio Africa that the survey was conducted to add some “statistical value” to the facts that are already well known about teachers’ experiences during elections.

Madziva said the interrogations were conducted by a four-member panel headed by “district inspectors”. The victims said they could not identify the other three panel members but suspected them to be “security details”, who asked why ZANU PF had lost at their polling stations.

“79% of the respondents were forced to attend political rallies, some held during work time and having far reaching effects on education. Another 24% reported having been displaced from their work stations and communities,” Madziva explained.

The PTUZ also collected statistics on the perpetrators of violence against teachers. Madziva said 25% of the teachers surveyed had experienced violence directly, with 27% of the perpetrators known as war vets, 24% youth militia and 20% intelligence agents.

“We found that fellow teachers, including headmasters and district education officers, constituted 4% of the perpetrators of violence against teachers. Secondly school development committee members also committed acts of violence against teachers, particularly in rural areas,” Madziva stressed.

He added that these two new revelations made the survey even more valuable and the PTUZ intends to distribute the report to SADC (as the guarantors of the Global Political Agreement), the United Nations Security Council, Education International and the International Labour Organization. Madziva said they would also distribute the report to local structures, including Zimbabwe’s legislators and the leaders of all political parties. – SW Radio Africa

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