HARARE – Progressive Teacher’s Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ)’s secretary-general, Raymond Majongwe has criticised the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta)’s chief executive Sifiso Ndlovu for his “populist” attitude.
Majongwe told a PTUZ World Teachers’ Day celebration gathering on Saturday that Ndlovu did not have the workers’ best interests at heart and accused him of politicking.
“When we went to meet government officials regarding the salary issues he said the money should include housing and salary so that it can be $540.
“Let me quote him for you, ‘if you are given money and you put it in this pocket and you are given money and put it in that pocket it’s still your money so Poverty Datum Line (PDL) includes housing and salary.
“Today he comes out in the newspaper saying PDL must be $1000. It is because we were with Zanu PF people at government therefore he decided not to raise the issue with them; he is now trying to be popular with members.
“That is a sign of bad leadership; it’s cruel to do that. He now goes to his union and says Majongwe and crew are raising the issue of PDL but we had sat down and agreed on what we want, tinogona kutotambiswa bhora risina mweya (we could be taken for a ride),” he said.
Majongwe added that his organisation will not be diverted by press reports regarding bonuses as that was not part of the current negotiations with government.
“We went to a meeting asking for a salary increment; all of a sudden we read in the papers that there is going to be a bonus for civil servants.
“This issue is not about bonus; bonus was granted already, how has it changed from what we were talking about — increments to bonus?
“When we point it out, they say we talk too much. But this time we will be together, even going to President Mugabe.”
Majongwe added that it was government’s responsibility to look after its people, not unions and mocked the MDC for its election loss.
“Even at the farms, we will be together, there is noone who will stand in our way talking about having been given stands to their union, we are all Zimbabweans, and we will also get them.
“I told the MDC people when they got into council, there is not even a single stand they gave to people or unions for appreciation of their support.
“Zanu PF gave people, mapostori, many people and the evidence came out when they won the Mount Pleasant seat,” he said.
“ MDC were taking the stands for themselves and their relatives, therefore, they lost the election and we will not sympathise with them as we kept on telling them but they refused to listen,” the PTUZ secretary-general said.
“As a trade union, we will not align with any political party, we will go with the flow, Zanu PF is talking about indigenisation, we will go there, give it to us as well, we want to venture into mining and whatever the benefits they are giving Zanu PF is the government of the day.
“We will not fight other people’s wars. We will fight for teachers’ rights, we will not be used,” he said.
Majongwe said he was having the last laugh on the constitution as he warned people but they refused to listen.
“The no vote was a matter of principle, when both Zanu PF and the two MDCs agreed on a defective draft constitution which did very little to address the plight of civil servants.
“We decided to remain principled than say yes to gain cheap political capital. We made a difficult decision when we went for a no vote although we had a major fallout with many people including our members.
“We are delighted that now we are being vindicated as the realities on the ground show,” he said.
World Teachers’ Day has been held annually on October 5th since 1994.
Its aim is to mobilise support for teachers to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by teachers.