Firebrand teachers group claims CIO threat on leader

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By Staff Reporter

THE Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) says its president Obert Masaraure was being threatened by state agents over the group’s brave move to prop up the opposition’s unsuccessful court bid to reverse President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s electoral victory.

In a statement, the firebrand teachers group said the union was also being persecuted for its role in the run-up to the July 30 elections.

“ARTUZ president Obert Masaraure received threats from three known members of the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO),” said the teachers union.

“The threats were explicit, the officers threatened to destroy ARTUZ because of its role in both the run-up to the 2018 elections and the Constitutional Court Presidential Election petition,” said the group.

MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa put up a spirited attempt to have Mnangagwa’s victory set aside by the courts while claiming massive poll fraud by the incumbent.

Among some of the reasons were claims tens of thousands of teachers were denied their right to cast their ballots as they were involved with the polling process.

The militant ARTUZ deposed to a supporting affidavit, “citing the indisputable fact that 40 000 teachers were robbed of their right to vote by ZEC”.

During the period leading up to the July 30 elections, the union dragged Zanu PF to court seeking an order barring the ruling party from “abusing school property, learners and teachers in pursuit of private political interests”.

The challenge was waged under its Safe Schools Campaign.

The union further asked the courts to compel ZEC to facilitate voting for all civil servants engaged as polling officers.

Despite the alleged threats, the teachers’ union says it will not be deterred from being a part of the country’s democratisation process.

“The Union is unapologetic and the civic role it played in aiding the democratic transformation of our country.

“The state has always sought to derail our advocacy work, the threat of the annihilation of our Union.

“The State and government is hereby reminded that they have a duty to fulfil their electoral promises.

“As civil servants we still demand a living wage. Spare us of your threats and give us a living wage,” said the group.

The threats come in the wake of an alleged state crackdown on some opposition leaders and their supporters accused of sponsoring the post-electoral violence that saw six people die in the hands of the army during angry protests by MDC Alliance supporters over elections results August 1.