By Alois Vinga
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has blamed the United Kingdom government for instigating the ongoing strike by schoolteachers.
This came out of a meeting Mnangagwa held with Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU) leaders on Monday.
Schoolteachers have failed to report for duty since the start of the first term of 2020 arguing they are incapacitated because of poor salaries.
They are demanding US$540 monthly salaries.
Speaking to NewZimbabwe.com after a three-hour meeting with Mnangagwa, ZFTU secretary general, Kennias Shamuyarira said the president blamed Boris Johnson’s government of instigating the teachers’ strike.
“He (Mnangagwa) cited last year’s incident in which a British minister told the House of Commons that he was working closely with teachers’ unions in Zimbabwe to help in their regime agenda,” Shamuyarira said.
He was referring to an incident in which, minister of State of the UK for South Asia, the UN and the Commonwealth, Tariq Mahmoud Ahmad, claimed some teachers’ unions in Zimbabwe were collaborating with Britain to toppled Mnangagwa’s government.
“However, we shot down the matter and argued that that we could not focus on debates transpiring in other nations and address our shortcomings,” Shamuyarira said.
“For instance, we told him that teachers are on strike purely based on the hardships they are going through. Imagine the poverty datum line is now hovering around ZW$90 000 and a teacher earns just ZW$20 000, it does not require the UK interfere,” he said.
Shamuyarira also said Mnangagwa assured that them he would personally lift the suspension of teachers who are on strike unconditionally.
“We urged him to reign in some of his ministers who have unilaterally decided to suspend striking teachers and he assured our representatives that he was going to deal with lifting of the teachers’ suspensions through their trade unions.”