Fresh census scandal rocks Zimstart

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

THE Zimbabwe Statistical Agency (Zimstart) has been rocked by a fresh scandal after it emerged at the weekend several teachers who had been hired and trained as enumerators for the forthcoming national census have been kicked out replaced by Zanu PF youths.

Sources said the teachers were removed as punishment for participating in the strike which took place when schools opened for the first term of 2022 back in February.

Most teachers in government-run schools countrywide failed to attend classes as they heeded to calls by their respective unions to boycott lessons due to incapacitation.

The ministry of Primary and Secondary Education went on to suspend the teachers, but the move was declared illegal by the High Court.

Teacher enumerators who had just completed training at Bulawayo Polytechnic said they were Saturday booted out of college and asked to hand over their census material to   Zanu PF youths.

“All along the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency has been using state resources to train us, only to be told when we are about to be deployed that we were on strike and therefore we are not suitable for the job. For starters, I have never been on strike. Now who is going to pay me for the time I spend while undergoing the enumeration training,” a teacher who refused to be named for fear of victimisation said.

The teacher said they were forced to surrender their census kits Zanu PF youths.

Another affected teacher described the move as cruel, vindictive and illegal.

“The move to suspend teachers was declared illegal by the High Court. Why is the government and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education so petty to the extent of denying the suffering teachers an opportunity to earn extra income for their children,” said the teacher.

The teacher said he is now contemplating suing Zimstat for breaching the contract.

When reached for comment, Zimstat spokesperson, Mercy Chidemo, said the decision was a result of a recent cabinet resolution to bar the Public Service Commission from hiring teachers who were deemed to be on strike.

I am not really sure about what happened, but I am sure you are aware of a memo which was sent to PSC that they should not hire teachers who were on strike. So, in this case, the PSC coordinators were responsible for recruiting the enumerators,” Chidemo said.

“There were teachers that were on incapacitation/strike that had sneaked in classes. So the PED (provincial education director) said they should not participate and they sent them packing yesterday evening. They were replaced by other teachers from MoPSE (Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education),” Chidemo added.