Zimbabwe schoolteacher forced into hiding as security agents storm Gweru home

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Staff Reporter

A ZIMBABWEAN school teacher, Thando Khoza has gone into hiding amid reports she was being pursued by suspected state security agents for being part of a group of striking schoolteachers who have defied a government directive to resume teaching.

Khoza (45), who teaches at a school in Lower Gweru is also an activist linked to the main opposition MDC Alliance.

Bernard Chataika, a workmate told the media that Khoza was part of a defiant group of teachers that was encouraging parents not to send their children back to school to sit for their November final examinations.

Teachers feel by ordering schools opening without the provision of the requisite Covid-19 protective material, government was exposing both the educators and learners to the dangers of the global pandemic.

Zimbabwean schools have been closed since March this year as part of government measures to contain a rampaging coronavirus pandemic that has seen nearly 8 000 locals being infected with related deaths hovering above 200.

A majority schoolteachers have adamantly refused to return to class while pressing for US dollar denominated wages and protective measures put in place to avoid Covid-19 infections.

Speaking from her unknown hide out, Khoza said her nightmare started when some five-armed men stormed her Lower Gweru home looking for her.

“Five heavily armed men raided my home looking for me in Lower Gweru. They assaulted my sons Zibusiso and Zamukelwe and my niece Noma demanding that they disclose my whereabouts.

“They also threatened to take with them my niece Nomagugu who was the eldest of the family members in my absence,” Khoza said.

The Zanu PF led government has heightened its crackdown on opponents and activists viewed critical to the Emmerson Mnangagwa led establishment.

Several activists recently went into hiding as state agents were hot of their trail.

In March this year, a schoolteacher Brian Mutsiba in Bulawayo’s Njube High School was forced to go into hiding when state security agents were on his trail for organising a student street demonstration over exorbitant tuition fees.

Opposition politicians, journalists and activists have been part of a renewed state crackdown as the under-fire Mnangagwa-led authority battles to contain a strong global backlash over poor governance, corruption and rights abuses.