The Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) cancelled its planned march to deliver a petition to Mhlahlandlela Government Complex in Bulawayo on Friday after the police ordered the party to send not more than five representatives.
MRP intended to march to Mhlahlandlela to present its petition on the status of education in Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, and a part of the Midlands.
The secessionist party claims the poor pass rate in schools in the region is partly attributable to the deployment of teachers who are unable to communicate in local indigenous languages.
MRP leader Mqondisi Moyo told CITE’s Lulu Brenda Harris that they decided to cancel the march and re-strategise after the police order. He said:
Police delayed in releasing the clearance and they said our march will be restricted to five people if it was a peaceful demonstration.
We then thought no, we will re-strategise because we saw ZANU PF at Tredgold last week, singing, inciting public violence and causing disorder.
This is why our youth team is strategising for next week, we refuse to be given a number of five people, which is a restriction.
Moyo said MRP will push the government to address the matter and will not hesitate to ensure that the schools are closed if it ever comes to that. He said:
What we have since discovered in all these schools, particularly in Matabeleland North is that there are non-local speaking teachers.
So our petition is a guide to encourage communities to push, stand up for their rights and demand that their children be taught by teachers who can speak their mother language.
How can the government deploy non-local language-speaking teachers to teach children, including at the ECD level?
This makes us believe that the government wants to deprive Matabeleland of education, so that marginalisation continues.
As a party, we are doing all that is within our means to make sure this is addressed and if it means schools must close, they will close.
In Lupane in 2016, MRP members including villagers and the school development committee (SDC) chairman were arrested for pushing for the removal of a non-Ndebele-speaking headmistress, Millet Bonyonge, from Mlamuli Secondary School.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education subsequently transferred the headmistress and six other teachers from the same school. | CITE