HARARE – At least 66 schoolteachers have been discharged from Zimbabwe’s public service after breaking their employment code through participating as candidates in last month’s harmonised elections.
But unions say teachers targeted were those who sought political office under the opposition banner while those who took part under Zanu PF were spared the axe.
Public Service Commission (PSC) general manager Grace Machakaire, in correspondence to the secretary for primary and secondary education, said it was replacing 66 teachers who lost their jobs through involvement in party elective politics.
“In line with the Public Service Commission General Letter referenced D/16, dated 17 May 2023, the Commission intends to replace sixty-six (66) teachers who resigned from the Public Service to participate in the 2023 harmonised elections.
“In view of this, you are requested to urgently provide learning areas for the Teachers (copy attached) to enable the Commission to make an informed decision,” Machakaire wrote.
However, reacting to the development, Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) accused government of discrimination after allegedly wielding the axe on teachers who contested the poll on an opposition CCC ticket only.
“In line with section 200 of the constitution, it decided to replace 66 teachers who were successfully nominated as candidates for the 2023 elections.
“Shockingly teachers like Enock Chevedza (of Gokwe South) and Garikai Makwakwa (Makonde, Mashonaland West) who won as councillors for Zanu PF remain in office,” ARTUZ posted on X.
Before the August 23 elections, authorities issued a warning they will not be kind to civil servants who join the political arena.
In a circular to all heads of government ministries before, PSC secretary Tsitsi Choruma said at the time that participation of civil servants in political activities was guided by Section 200 (3) and (4) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No 20) Act of 2013.
“A member of the Public Service who wishes to become a candidate for elections to a local authority or has been nominated as a candidate by a political party, political organisation or political movement or declares himself/herself as a candidate for elections to Parliament or local authority shall submit, in writing a letter notifying the commission of his/her intentions.
“The member shall be deemed to have resigned from the Public Service with effect from the date that the authority is granted for those seeking election to a local authority.
“A member of the Public Service who wishes to seek election to Parliament shall be deemed to have resigned from the Public Service with effect from the date of acceptance of his nomination by the Nomination Court,” she said. – ZimLive