New Zimbabwe.com

Teacher in court for sending WhatsApp message decrying poor salaries; reported to police by colleague

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By Thandiwe Garusa


A Harare teacher, Edith Mupondi, has been dragged to court on allegations of sending a message in a WatsApp group decrying poor salaries by government .

Mupondi is being charged with contravening section 88(b) of the Postal and Telecommunications Act for allegedly sending by telephone any message that she knew to be false for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to any person.

Prosecutors allege Mupondi unlawfully used her mobile phone to send a message on “Epworth Ladies” WhatsApp group on 23 October 2020, which read: “PaEpworth High School, Mr Muzondo, Mr Mudzengere, Mrs Sithole please tinyareiwo muzvigarire kumba, muri kurwisa vanhu vari kukurwirai kuti muwane mari inotenga. Tinyareiwo please (Please respect us by staying at your respective homes. You are fighting people that are clamouring for payment of improved salaries for teachers)..”

This was during the time when most teachers were staying home citing incapacitation.

Yvonne Sithole, one of the teachers who was allegedly mentioned in the message, then reported Mupondi to the police, resulting in her being arraigned before Harare Magistrate Tafadzwa Miti to stand trial.

Sithole complained that the message scared her as it sent shivers down her spine,” said Sithole.

“I recalled well since the opening of schools; I was going to school as usual since I had an exam class. On some of the days I would inform the headmaster that I was not coming since I had no money for transport, and this was being done by every teacher at the school.

“Surprisingly, on 23 October 2020, around 2026 hours, a WhatsApp message was sent in a group. The message was from a group called “Teachers Can’t Breathe Epworth” and it was forwarded to “Epworth Ladies Group”.

“It was forwarded by Edith Mupondi. I am now living in fear, and I am no longer able to go to school since I don’t know the intentions of these people and I informed this to the headmaster,” reads part of Sithole’s complaint to the police, which landed Mupondi in trouble.

This comes at a time Zimbabwean authorities are intensifying the monitoring and surveillance of social media platforms and targeting people who share perceived dissenting views and opinions to those of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government and the ruling party.