HomeTop NewsFOZEU’s call for strike…an attempt at provoking anarchy

FOZEU’s call for strike…an attempt at provoking anarchy

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By Elizabeth Sitotombe

IN an attempt to sow anarch across the country by calling for a nationwide strike among teachers, the Federation of Zimbabwe Educators’ Union (FOZEU) has taken on the role of the aggressor.

FOZEU, while relatively unknown, comprises members who have long been a thorn in the side of progress due to their prolonged efforts in aiding Western entities that relentlessly seek to effect regime change in Zimbabwe.

Recently, teachers’ unions under FOZEU united to announce their plan to embark on a strike from March 20 to 22 2024, following salary adjustments by the Government which they said fell short of their demands. 

They further threatened an “. . . indefinite national strike when schools reopen for the next term” if the Government failed to meet their misplaced demands for a US$1 260 minimum salary.

In a statement on its social media page, the rogue union advised parents and guardians to keep their children at home for their ‘safety’.

FOZEU and its like-minded unions no longer represent the interests of their constituencies but have become wolves in sheep’s clothing, playing a well-rehearsed role in the regime change agenda.

Despite having their sinister plots exposed time and again, they persist in their shenanigans for the proverbial 30 pieces of silver.

The recent civil service salary adjustments followed an agreement reached between the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) and the Government last week. Their local currency component is now indexed to the prevailing official exchange rate to bolster civil servants’ purchasing power, while the US dollar rate has been raised to US$320 from US$300, with civil servants receiving backdated increments from January. The NJNC is set to reconvene in April for further discussions on their pay packages.

But despite ongoing discussions, FOZEU seems to be harbouring ulterior motives.

They seek to incite public discontent despite their claims to represent teachers’ best interests.

It should be noted that some members are not even teachers at all but rather activists who are doing the bidding of regime change organisations, such as Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) and the ZCTU.

Member groups include the Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union (ARTUZ), Education Union of Zimbabwe (EUZ), Progressive Educators’ Union (PEU), and Zimbabwe Visually Impaired Teachers’ Union.

Some of these unions, like ARTUZ, are known for their ties to Western interests; openly pocketing funds in exchange for making sporadic noises to appease their Western patrons.

The secretary-general of FOZEU is none other than ARTUZ union leader Obert Masaraure, an activist with a well-documented anti-Government stance.

In 2013, he founded ARTUZ.

Masaraure has faced accusations of extravagant living while members of his unions wallow in poverty.

A former member of ZINASU, he attended the Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF) for Young African Leaders where African youths are taught how to be effective agents of ‘change’ in their respective African nations.

Masaraure’s attention-seeking antics include fake abduction claims.

Unpacking FOZEU

FOZEU was established after an education sector meeting held at the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association offices on March 19 2018.

The federation brought together five teachers’ unions — Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (ZIMTA), Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), Professional Educators’ Union of Zimbabwe (PEUZ), Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), and the Zimbabwe National Teachers’ Union (ZINATU).

Former ARTUZ president Pride Mukono served as secretary-general.

ZIMTA’s chief executive officer, Sifiso Ndhlovu, chaired the steering committee. Also present were Richard Gundane of ZIMTA, Takavafira Zhou of PTUZ, Manuel Nyawo of ZINATU and Professor Munashe Furusa of PEUZ.

However, ZIMTA has now distanced itself from FOZEU, noting the latter’s penchant for strikes and serving interests beyond those of the teachers they purport to represent.

FOZEU has labelled ZIMTA as sellouts for not supporting their dubious actions. The union also claims to address fundamental issues overlooked by teachers under the Apex Council, the umbrella body for civil servant organisations in salary negotiations.

Ironically, Masaraure chairs FOZEU while serving as spokesperson for Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.

Over the years, teachers in Zimbabwe have consistently ignored FOZEU’s call for strikes, demonstrating a resolute refusal to be misled by an organisation that does not genuinely serve their interests. FOZEU, while purporting to represent teachers, has been perceived by many as serving the interests of external entities seeking regime change.

In November 2021, FOZEU’s call for a strike went largely unheeded by teachers.

In February 2022, another strike call by FOZEU met the same fate.

Their history of unsuccessful strike calls suggests their current efforts will likely flounder.

The reluctance of teachers to heed FOZEU’s strike calls stems from a deep-seated understanding among educators that their primary allegiance should be to the well-being and progress of the education sector, rather than being manipulated for political agendas.

The Second Republic has abundantly made it clear that it will not just listen to grievances from all quarters but will act to better the lot of all its citizens.

And it is no wonder FOZEU’s persistent calls for strikes have been met with scepticism by teachers who recognise the broader implications of such actions.

“Many educators are acutely aware that strikes can disrupt the learning process for students, hinder academic progress and adversely affect the reputation of the education system. Moreover, the suspicion surrounding FOZEU’s motives has grown due to its alignment with external forces that have an agenda of destabilising the Government. Teachers understand that being associated with an organisation serving the interests of regime change agents undermines their credibility and professional integrity,” said educationist Gorden Nyambuya

“Instead of blindly following FOZEU’s directives, teachers have chosen to prioritise dialogue, constructive engagement and advocacy within established channels such as the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC). Through these platforms, educators can voice their concerns, negotiate for better working conditions and contribute to policy discussions that benefit the education sector as a whole.

“The resilience of teachers in resisting FOZEU’s strike calls reflects their commitment to professionalism, ethical conduct and the greater good of education in Zimbabwe. 

By staying true to their principles and focusing on collaborative efforts to improve the education landscape, teachers are demonstrating a steadfast dedication to their students and the nation’s future,” said Nyambuya.

“Teachers’ consistent refusal to heed FOZEU’s strike calls underscores their unwavering commitment to education and their refusal to be manipulated for political purposes,” he said.  

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