PTUZ officials arrested in Bulawayo

Two senior officials from a militant teachers union were arrested Wednesday morning by police in Bulawayo and only released after a four hour interrogation.

Nokhuthula Mpofu Hlabangana, Vice President of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) and Provincial Co-ordinator Vusimusi Mahlangu were arrested for distributing union t-shirts and newsletters to their members in several Bulawayo schools.

PTUZ Information & Publicity Secretary Fannuel Mabhugu told SW Radio Africa that: “The police were keen to know the source of the t-shirts and why these officials were distributing these materials to teachers. They suspected that this was being done as part of a grand plan to stage a demonstration against the government.”

Mabhugu described the arrest as, “malicious and disturbing considering that other teachers’ organizations are also distributing their paraphernalia to their members without any hindrance from the same police.” He said the police were deliberately closing their space to interact with the members of the union.

Asked why they were being targeted, Mabhugu said it might have something to do with a story they are exposing in their newsletter. He said the Mugabe regime was secretly rehiring retired headmasters who were over 65 years of age. “The idea is to have loyal presiding officers in the next elections,” he said.

Polling stations for elections in Zimbabwe are usually set up at schools and teachers and headmasters play a prominent role. The PTUZ says it suspects that the rehired headmasters might be used to play a prominent role in rigging elections in ZANU PF’s favour. SW Radio Africa

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