So, ‘Teachers For ED’ would have readily supported Smith as well?

It was not particularly surprising, but was certainly stunned, when I heard a representative of the so-called 'Teachers For ED' group, on state-controlled television saying, 'teachers needed to support the government of the day'.

Tendai Ruben Mbofana

 

Wow, that is truly revealing to the shallowness and lack of any foundation in this organization, which purports to represent teachers – which, is clearly guided by nothing more than blind fanaticism for, and possibly seeking favor from, President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa.

Surely, would we be wrong concluding that, had this crop of educators been around in the 1960s and 70s, they would easily have formed a ‘Teachers For ID’ (named after then Prime Minister Ian Douglas Smith) – as a way, according to their own words, of ‘supporting the government of the day’?

I was filled with unsettling apprehension over what exactly such people, without any values, would teach our children.

In fact, if ever I were to learn that any one of these unprincipled men and women were teaching my son, I would not hesitate to demand another educator be found.

What manner of rubbish will such people instil in our children – when they, themselves, are so blinkered as to finding absolutely nothing untoward about lending their support to a leader – who has authored the misery of millions of ordinary Zimbabweans, and presided over the ruination of a once functional and vibrant economy?

Since their only concern is supposedly ‘supporting the government of the day’, then setting up a ‘Teachers For ED’ should not be particularly shocking.

We similarly had a ‘government of the day’ led by Smith – whose oppressive policies also went against the aspirations of millions of black Zimbabweans, and was determined to prevent majority rule at all cost.

‘Teachers For ID’, oh sorry, ED – would clearly not have had any problems with that.

Just as today, they would have gone on and on about so-called ‘development’ – totally ignoring the fact that basic rights for both their fellow colleagues, as well as the nation at large, are not being taken care of by the same ‘government of the day’ – but, were actually being wantonly violated at disgusting obscene levels.

What ‘economic development’ do they intend to achieve when teachers are living on the brink of abject poverty?

In actual fact, talking about supposed ‘income generating projects’ – meant to augment paltry salaries earned by teachers – is a clear testimony to their hero’s unmitigated failure of governance.

A worker is worthy of his wages – as such, should be the main focus of any credible teachers’ union – by ensuing that they are awarded livable dignified salaries first, before rushing to rearing chickens, or growing vegetables, or selling children’s snacks, due to the inadequacies of current remuneration.

Besides, our children require teachers who are focused on the task of teaching – without the distractions of operating and managing a ‘side hustle’, due to poor salaries.

My own late beloved father was a devoted teacher – who, in his passion for his work, would spend hours during weekends and after hours, planning and preparing for his next lessons.

So, where would he have found the time to rear chickens, or sell eggs?

Even under Smith, where the majority were discriminated upon on the basis of skin colour – in spite of doing the same job – I am quite certain these ‘Teachers For ID or ED’ would have opted to pay more attention to starting ‘income generating projects’, ostensibly to ‘bridge the gap and salary discrepancies’, instead of fighting for ‘equal pay for equal work’.

That is one of the hallmarks of sellouts – who choose to betray their own, in favor of supping with the devil, usually for a few pieces of silver or a plate of sadza.

Did the Gupta brothers – in their statements on their dirty corrupt deeds with elements in then South Africa President Jacob Zuma’s administration – not boldly declare that, it was not very difficult receiving scandalous favors from senior government officials, since all they needed to do was give them a plate of rice curry!

Anyway, it is most worrisome that we have people within our midst who are prepared to stab the suffering people of Zimbabwe in general, and their fellow teachers in particular, in the back – as they throw their weight behind a discredited national leader, whose clueless and kleptomaniac administration has singlehandedly destroyed this beautiful country?

Never mind that nearly half the population earns less than US$1.90 a day, and the vast majority of civil servant living below the poverty datum line – with the Total Consumption Poverty Line for September 2022 standing at ZW$27,297 (about US$45), and Food Poverty Line at ZW$20,818 (about US$34) for only one person.

Yet, a teacher currently earns around ZW$30, 000, and others as little as ZW$15,000 – taking home about US$160 a month.

Nonetheless, what we find is a group of teachers who would rather support those unleashing such deplorable injustices on Zimbabweans – instead of demanding what is deserving to each and every teacher, for the restoration of their dignity and respectability.

All self-respecting teachers should distance themselves from such machinations designed to make them ignore the suffering in their daily lives, and lose focus on the legitimate demand for living wages.

  • Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936, or email: [email protected]

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