Public Service and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima has accused some teachers’ unions of sabotaging the ZANU PF-led government by staging recurrent strikes in order to get funds from Western countries.
In an interview with Voice of America’s Studio 7 on Wednesday, Mavima accused the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) of being funded by some unnamed donors outside the country to incite civil unrest.
He said in spite of the government’s best efforts to ensure that teachers were well-paid, teachers’ unions were not appreciative of the efforts. Said Mavima:
Some teachers’ organisations such as ARTUZ do not care about the government’s efforts to address their concerns.
What they are concerned about is to criticise the government despite its efforts to improve the welfare of teachers.
They do this in order to get funds from the donors to promote violence.
What we know is that they are being funded by foreign countries to destabilise the country.
However, ARTUZ secretary-general Robson Chere denied the allegations. He said ARTUZ’s membership constituted a significant number of teachers in the country. Said Chere:
We wish to categorically and unequivocally posit that ARTUZ is a progressive revolutionary teachers’ union formed on the behest of perennial abuse of teachers in Zimbabwe since time immemorial.
ARTUZ was not formed to go to bed with the employer, but to further the interests and welfare of teachers and learners in Zimbabwe. That is our sacred moral and constitutional duty. We will serve.
The government has on several occasions accused civic society groups of receiving funding from the West in a bid to pursue a regime change agenda.
Mavima said the government was satisfied with its workers’ salaries in which the least paid was earning ZWL$30 000, which translates to US$ 187 per month.