Throwing childish tantrums certainly not the best way for Zimbabwe govt to resolve impasse with teachers!

I am quite sure we have all either come across this, or actually been the culprits.

Tendai Ruben Mbofana

 

Let us say, there is a couple, with their small child in tow, doing some shopping in a large supermarket.

The parents decide to pamper their child, and pick up a toy they believe he will be thrilled with – but, to their utter surprise, he vehemently rejects it, rudely grabs it from his mother’s hand, and violently throws it to the ground, further trampling on it, whilst at the same time screaming for another toy from a nearby gondola.

Yes, we have all encountered such spoilt brats – who seem to think the world revolves around them, and if they do not get their way, they throw a huge nasty tantrum.

It is always an embarrassing sight – which makes me wonder how some parents raise their children, as such are traits of gross indiscipline and waywardness… which, in all likelihood (and left unchecked) will result in an uncontrollable and possibly violent adult, who finds it hard to manage life’s challenges.

Anyway, let us say, it is not the child who throws this despicable and disgraceful tantrum – but, the parents themselves, who shamelessly break things up in the supermarket, and horrendously beat their child to a pulp – simply because he refused the toy they had chosen for him!

Now, that would be a most disturbing and shocking sight – wouldn’t it?

Yet, this occurrence is not as uncommon as some may assume – since, here in Zimbabwe we witness this nearly on a daily basis.

This time around, not from our regular parents – but, the government itself.

The latest, in a long list of disgusting tantrum-throwing by Zimbabwe authorities, was at the hands of education minister, Evelyn Ndlovu, who puzzlingly decided that placing nearly 135,000 teachers who refused to work for virtually nothing, on three months unpaid suspension, was the wisest move to “teach them a lesson”.

This, regardless of the fact that – according to leading law experts – is beyond her legal reach, as she has no such powers, neither does the teachers employer, the Public Service Commission (PSC) to effect blanket and mass suspensions.

What crime did our teachers commit?

They have never even been violent in their demands – but, have always conducted themselves with utmost dignity and civility.

So, why is the government resorting to illegal means, instead of just doing the most logical, mature, and intelligent thing – engaging and negotiating with these teachers in a genuine and honest manner?

Besides, who does not understand these teachers’ concerns – or, those of the entire civil service – who have to work for a measly US$95 a month?

Surely, no matter how tough the economic situation is in Zimbabwe, or how desperate one may become – but, who can be expected to survive under such slave-like conditions, no matter how committed they may be to their profession?

Furthermore, in spite the recent ‘toy’ chosen by the government for its workers – a laughable ZW$13,000 (about US$60) plus US$100, and an additional US$75 temporary COVID-19 allowance – that teachers justifiably, wisely, and calmly, but firmly, rejected…the government chose the childish tantrum route.

On what basis did the employer seriously expect its suffering and impoverished workers to accept such an insulting offer – which, was not even reached at after wide consultations, and consent, with the affected teachers?

To any intelligent person, this is grossly arrogant and smacks of appalling leadership capabilities.

My best advice to the government of Zimbabwe is that, quit being such babies, and stop with the tantrums – but, sit down with your workers, with the seriousness and honesty such negotiations deserve.

Suspending nearly 135,000 out of the country’s 150,000 teachers is nothing short of insane!

How is that going to result in our children receiving decent education?

If the government expects these coercive measures to intimidate teachers to attend to their work stations, then I have one more thing to say – which parent would want their child taught by a disgruntled, angry, and starving teacher?

We want our teachers to be happy and satisfied – with their dignity intact – teaching our children… nothing else is acceptable.

© 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]

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