She revealed this shock during her Ministerial Statement To Industrial Action by Teachers, as she addressed parliament, yesterday February 17, 2022.
Her drab and uninspiring presentation was fraught with the customary threats of sacking all those rejecting the typically arrogant government-imposed salary – betraying the only language this government understands…of brazen violence and intimidation.
Yet, what she said was disturbingly decrepit of any explanation as to why the employer was refusing to restore its impoverished workers’ living wage (US$540 per month) as of October 2018.
In a most ridiculous move, the employer, instead, decided to award these hardworking professional men and women a measly US$100 and ZW$13,000 – which, according to Ndlovu, was arrived at only after an emergency meeting with the presidency, as a direct consequence of teachers’ non-presence at work on school opening day, February 7, 2022.
What further boggles the mind is why government only took this nearly three-year-old disgruntlement by its employees “seriously” – by calling for any emergency meeting – after hearing reports of overwhelming nationwide collective job action.
Does this not buttress the assertion that this regime is only prodded into action when citizens bravely stand up for themselves?
Let us remember that this is the same administration that has never been shy about bragging over supposed economic “successes” – which witnessed foreign currency deposits growing to US$1.94 billion by close of December 2021, and earning US$10 billion from foreign currency receipts for the same year, mainly derived from exports (64%) and remittances (14.8%), which was about 50% of the country’s GDP (gross domestic product).
So, why not simply pay the demanded US$540 per month to its teachers who are failing to make ends meet?
As if there was anything particularly surprising about this refusal by its teaching and non-teaching staff to accept the insult of an unilaterally declared paltry “increment” – what, however, raised my own eyebrows was the ministers’ apparent shock as to why headmasters became part of this collective job action.
In her presentation to parliament, she referred to this as “unionization of schools heads”, who should be her “managers on the ground” – saying it became a problem, “when you have got a manager who is unionized, how do you work”?
“Heads of schools, their deputies, and senior teachers are my managers on the ground who are supposed to be helping me to get things happening”.
Wow, did the honorable minister honestly believe that our highly-esteemed senior educators would continue being willing “house niggers”, or ” Uncle Toms” – who could be used by the oppressor to do the dirty work on the ground, yet also enduring the same suffering as the rest of the oppressed?
If that was the case, then the government needs to urgently wake up!
In fact, this perfectly explains why this administration has been so arrogant and stubborn – since they erroneously and delusionally believed they had their poodles on the ground.
Well, our headmasters have proven the oppressor wrong!
The same shocking fate awaits the government with their mistakenly thinking that – roping in unemployed trained teachers, as well as science, engineering, and technology graduates, will end well – who are expected to fill in vacancies left after the planned mass expulsion of teachers who fail to turn up for duty by the set deadline of February 22, 2022.
Does this regime seriously believe that these envisioned “new” recruits will tolerate these peanuts they are offering teachers?
What makes them think that these people do not also have families to take care of, or livelihoods to maintain – which demand a decent living wage?
Is the government going to fire them as well, when the inevitable eventually happens – a few months down the line – as these “new” teachers also declare incapacitation?
Would the easiest thing to do not be simply awarding the current crop of trained and highly experienced teachers the salary they deserve – as opposed to playing silly and costly games?
If not careful, the administration will get more than they bargained for – as this incapacitation may actually go all the way to education officers in our districts and provinces.
The government of Zimbabwe needs to be serious for once!
Most of us have children still at school – and, will not tolerate them being taught by inexperienced “temporary” teachers – but, demand that government treats this issue with the urgency and seriousness it deserves, as they (children) have already lost too much valuable and unrecoverable time.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: [email protected]Post published in: Featured