Bubi MP, Simelisizwe Sibanda owes Teachers and the Nation An Apology
30 June 2024
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By Dr Takavafira M. Zhou | It is with utmost shock and disbelief that we have learnt of the rogue and thuggish behaviour of Bubi Mp, Simelisizwe Sibanda, against an ECD female teacher, Winnet Mharadze, at Clonnmore Primary School on 24 June 2024. The MP and apparently Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology interrogated the teacher why she was teaching in Matabeleland merely because she has a Shona surname. The teacher who appears petrified in the audio received a barage of questions merely because of her ethnic identity. The MP gave the teacher a summary dismissal and ordered the School head to ensure that he facilitates the dismissal forthwith.

Fundamentally, Sibanda as a Deputy Minister must have treated the teacher in a professional manner, rather than denigrating and dehumanizing her in public. If the Mp thought he had enough reasons to query the deployment of the teacher he could have raised the issue through his counterparts in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. Worse still the Mp seems to be ignorant of how teachers are transferred by his assumption that he or the head, Sifiso Buhlungu, has power to summarily transfer a teacher in a manner reminiscent of the colonial Master and Servant scenario.

As Ptuz we want to reiterate that ZANU-PF needs to reign on their rogue and errant Mp who lacks educational taxonomy and professional ethics, and is a danger to our society at large. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education needs to give this thuggish MP tutorials on professionalism and Ubuntu/Unhu. The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education also needs to call Sibanda to order for bringing the name of the Ministry into disrepute and disrespect.

Zimbabweans need to celebrate their unity in diversity and we expect Mps and Ministers to be flag bearers of this. We don’t expect them to behave like beasts. At any rate the difference between human beings and other animals is their ability to reason in a rational manner. But when those we expect to be more reasonable by virtue of their positions in society behave like beasts, we wonder whether they have become dogs or dogs have become Mps and Ministers.

We also want to deflate the Minister’s colonial binary and falsehood of the Shona and Ndebele. We have more than 20 languages in Zimbabwe and the reductionist perception of just the Shona and Ndebele must be thrown outside the window. It is dangerous to be parochial or harbour feelings of the locality against feelings of nationality. It is dangerous to look for Shona weaknesses or Ndebele weaknesses, etc, behind every rubbish bin in a school.

We also want to remind the Mp that he is certainly operating in unfamiliar terrain, and must forthwith never visit any school. A threat to any teacher anywhere is a threat to all teachers everywhere. We will not take the insult of Winnet Mharadze lightly and demand an unconditional apology as a matter of urgency.


*Dr Takavafira M. Zhou* (Ptuz President)