By Elizabeth Sitotombe

NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS (NGOs) in the country continue to work furiously at the behest of the West to effect regime change and receive ‘awards’ for their vile efforts.

The country is still besieged by NGOs’ regime change antics despite intercepting their illegal machinations time and again as well as laying bare their sinister plot.

For 30 pieces of silver and other trinkets, like dubious awards, these Western proxies are going to great lengths to attract funders for their nefarious activities. 

Recently, the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) received the 2022 Front Line Defenders Award in Dublin. 

The ceremony took place at the so-called Epic Immigration Museum in Dublin.

“In the past 12 months the union handled 132 cases of teachers who were forcibly transferred for being members of the union. 220 members have been arrested, detained and beaten by state security forces. In January 2022, 16 teachers who were part of a group of peaceful protestors protesting for a living wage were beaten, arrested and incarcerated. They were released on bail on January 17 2022. ARTUZ members have been arrested and attacked for their work,” read part of the statement by the Front Line Defenders (FLD).

ARTUZ has become a nuisance following its protracted efforts in aiding the US and UK who are seeking to effect regime change in the country. 

According to Special Matariano, political analyst, the duty of ARTUZ is to provide the needed ‘foot prints’ on the ground to effectively carry out regime change. 

“The history of ARTUZ seems to represent a picture and concoction of an organisation that was chiefly created on an anti-government mentality. Bits and pieces of that history shows and indicates that ARTUZ has an agenda which is more than its representation of rural teachers,” said Matariano.

“Plainly put, the intercourse between… ARTUZ and the MDC A, now CCC, are in an unholy alliance where…ARTUZ is recruiting rural teachers as MDC A (CCC) ‘rural foot soldiers’…Teachers are considered opinion leaders in rural areas.”

ARTUZ is in bed with other regime change outfits like the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) and the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU), among a host of others.

Both ARTUZ and ZINASU were part of the groups calling for the nationwide stay away that became a monumental flop last month.

ARTUZ members have been known to get themselves arrested countless of times for being a public nuisance. The leadership has been living large while their members are struggling. 

During his speech in Dublin, ARTUZ president Obert Masaraure claimed people in Zimbabwe are being shot for speaking against the Government.

“Whenever we speak against the Government, people are shot on the streets. Whenever we choose to speak, we find ourselves being abducted,” said Masaraure.  

He went on to assert that he has been abducted and tortured twice by the Government of Zimbabwe.

Masaraure ludicrously claims the current Government is illegitimate, never mind free and fair elections were held and endorsed as so by the observers. 

The attempts to undermine the authority of the Government through such international spaces continues unashamedly.

Masaraure and Robson Chere (ARTUZ secretary-general) have been caught up in abduction storms before. 

Robson Chere (ARTUZ secretary-general)

In 2019, Chere claimed he had been abducted on April 27. This year, once again, on the same date of April 27, Chere claimed to have been abducted.

On June 8 2019, at 2pm, Masaraure presented himself at the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Waterfalls, Harare, to file a report on his alleged abduction.

There were many anomalies in the statement and account provided by Masaraure on the alleged abduction.

Masaraure’s statement, like many of his counterparts’ who have screamed out abduction accusations at the hands of the State, read like Hollywood movie scripts and cannot stand up to scrutiny.

But of course they play to the gallery of their Western handlers and sponsors. For all the wrong reasons they seek relevance so they can continue milking the gullible West. 

On January 12 2022, ARTUZ members, including the union leader Masaraure, were arrested in front of the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) building during an illegal anti-Government protest. 

The ARTUZ leaders and members were charged with intention to promote public violence, bigotry and breach of peace as defined in Section 31(1) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act.

Many trade unions made noise all over the world. It is for this arrest and other similar public nuisance acts that the West decided to pat their puppets on the back and give them  an award.

The Amalgamated Rural Teacher’s Union of Zimbabwe, previously the Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (RTUZ), is a teachers’ organisation established in 2009 and formally launched on March 12 2013 in Harare. 

On November 20 2016, RTUZ merged with other rural teachers’ associations and formed ARTUZ.

It has about 5 000 members and about 200 associate members throughout the country.

The union has institutions around Zimbabwe’s 10 administrative provinces.

ARTUZ Board chairman is Doug Coltart, a suspected CIA agent and lawyer who did his attachment at the International Republican Institute Zimbabwe.

ARTUZ Board chairman is Doug Coltart, a suspected CIA agent and lawyer who did his attachment at the International Republican Institute of Zimbabwe

ARTUZ’s founding vice-president is Gaudencia Mandiopera, with Robson Chere as the secretary-general and Macdonald Kondo as the spokesperson.

Their leader, Masaraure, is a former ZINASU member and activist whose anti-Government stance is well-documented.

He has a tainted past involving misguided activism at the Midlands State University where he was suspended in 2006, 2008, 2009 and finally expelled in 2010.

In 2017, he attended the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders (YALI) programme in the US, an institute misnamed and especially dedicated to ‘grooming young people to push for regime change in their countries’.

Robson Chere, ARTUZ secretary-general also attended YALI in 2019. 

One of their members, Talkmore Mhlanga, was scheduled to leave for the YALI training programme on June 7 2022. 

Both Masaraure and Chere were once teachers who were suspended, later reinstated, then resigned to become full time activists. 

YALI was established when the US interests on the continent shifted from opposition political parties to the youths.

Upon returning to their home countries, Fellows continue to build on the ‘skills’ they would have acquired during their time in the US, through support from embassies, four regional leadership centres, the YALI Network and customised programming from USAID, the Department of State and affiliated partners.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is sponsored by the US government and administered by the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX). 

ARTUZ is more of a pretentious anti-government organisation than an organisation that represents rural teachers.

There is nothing wrong with unions negotiating with the Government on behalf of their members, what is wrong is politicising their grievances.

As for ARTUZ, the dubious awards may come in their numbers, but progressive minds know them for who they are — a public nuisance aiding and abetting the regime change agenda.

If ARTUZ was set up to alleviate the plight of rural teachers, why is it that issues they have raised do not concern the ‘affected’ constituency they claim to represent?

The closest association ARTUZ has with rural teachers is only in name.

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