The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) says Zanu (PF) parliamentary chief whip Joram Gumbo who is the Mberengwa West legislator forced the closure of more than 10 schools in the constituency last Friday, as teachers and students were ordered to attend his rally at Masase Mission.
“Schools in Mberengwa West on Friday 22 February were forced to close by Zanu (PF) chief whip Jorum Gumbo with teachers and students commandeered to attend the MP’s rally.
“As PTUZ we condemn outright the loss of teaching and learning time for partisan politics and reiterate the long-held view that schools must be political free zones. For many times we have respected Gumbo as one of the few reasonable Zanu (PF) guys but the latest move has proved he is a zealot like others and exposing teachers and students to Zanu PF thuggery,”PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou told The Zimbabwean this week.
Zhou added: “What is worrisome is the fact that Mberengwa District Education Officer Mrs Shirichena also ordered headmasters to ensure that all teachers and students in Mberengwa West had to attend a rally at Masase Mission.”
Teachers and students who attend Gumbo’s rally were from schools like Guruva, Chovuragu, Chizungu,Vubwe ,Matabo and Zverenje Secondary Schools. Some were from Gaha, Masase,Marovovondo,Chebvute,Nyororo,Chavengwa and Mutsime Primary Schools.
When contacted Gumbo said PTUZ is misinformed as the Masase Mission meeting is his annual event called “Meet the Your MP” where he also donates school furniture,soccer balls and some money.
“There are just misinformed. I have been holding these meetings every year where i meet people from my constituency to donate furniture, money and soccer balls to schools. This year I gave a total of US$50 000 to all schools in that area.
“On top of that we also held a soccer tournament under “Meet the MP where students from these schools participated.
“Even people from MDC and other parties attended this meeting and also senior officials from the Education Ministry were in attendance. I don’t do cheap politics,” said Gumbo. Mberengwa has been Zanu PF stronghold since independence and it has been a no go area for other parties. The Zimbabwean