THE Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has refuted government and state media accusations that the union was working with the United Kingdom (UK) government to effect a regime change in the country.
Addressing the ruling Zanu-PF’s Politburo meeting Wednesday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the government was investigating some teachers unions and civil society organisations claiming they were working against his government.
Mnangagwa’s remarks follows recent comments in the UK House of Lords that the British government was discussions with some trade unions in Zimbabwe over their welfare.
However, in an interview with Newzimbabwe.com Thursday, PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said Mnangagwa’s accusations were unfounded and meant to divert attention on the current stalemate between the government and teachers over salaries and better working conditions.
“As PTUZ, we are baffled by such a lackadaisical, warped and vacuous approach. Wouldn’t it have been more prudent to investigate and make informed enunciations rather than the ludicrous hallucination of falsely accusing legitimate union leaders of a crime they have not committed?
“ZBC and The Herald have not only peddled misrepresentations, high sounding nothing, but falsehoods of the worst order. How a legitimate teachers’ union can overnight assume powers to change an entrenched totalising hegemonic power with full control of security forces, remains baffling and puzzling.
“We posit that this is a diversionary tactic tailor made to weaken our focus on teachers’ welfare and the establishment of a credible education system in Zimbabwe,” Zhou said.
The PTUZ boss urged Mnangagwa to launch investigations into the allegations.
“We welcome government investigations on teachers’ unions allegedly working in cohorts with the UK to deliver regime change. This is a rational approach that we believe can unravel the truth, if objectively done. Sadly, the ZBC and The Herald have already found culprits before any investigations are carried out.”
Zhou maintained that his organisation was apolitical with membership drawn from across the political divide.
“Ours is a labour union with members cutting across the political divide. We, however, have no apology for advancing the interests of teachers and defending any gains made.
“For this reason, we have knocked at every government door including the Office of the President, and petitioning parliamentary portfolio committees over the parlous state of our education system, lack of investment in quality public education, living wage and payment for invigilation of examinations run by ZIMSEC, among many other things.”