Controversial legislator Joseph Chinotimba is in the eye of a storm after he allegedly threatened to have teachers who had attended an opposition party rally transferred from his Buhera South constituency.
While Chinotimba dismissed the allegations that are contained in a report compiled by Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) for the month of July, he insisted that he would not allow any teacher to attend a rally during school hours, whether they are MDC or Zanu PF.
According to the ZPP report “two school teachers, Christopher Jera from Muzokomba High School and one Munemo from Muzokomba Primary School were on July 22 threatened with transfers after attending an MDC rally at Mushongwi Business Centre in Buhera South”.
“It is reported that after the rally, Chinotimba summoned Kambira and Chirau, the headmasters of the schools, and ordered them to immediately transfer the teachers in clear violation of the teacher’s constitutional rights and freedoms of assembly. The teachers are reportedly living in fear due to the threats and suspicion that transfers could be effected anytime,” read the report.
However, Chinotimba said the allegations are a “100 percent lie”.
“I don’t have the power to transfer a teacher. But if a teacher abandons his post to go to a rally whether it’s a Zanu PF or MDC rally, handidi teacher anoenda kurally nguva dzebasa. Ndinoti pasi navo (I will not allow a teacher to attend a rally during schooling time).”
Chinotimba said he has often been labelled uneducated and would do everything in his power to give the children in his constituency the education he never had.
He added that he does not see Zimbabweans, particularly children, through political affiliation lenses.
“In fact, umwe teacher uyu muZanu PF (One of the teachers is a Zanu PF supporter) but you don’t give an excuse that you are sick and then go and attend a rally,” said Chinotimba.
In the report, ZPP also singled out a school in Buhera South that risks being prejudiced of development material due to political interference.
“The headmaster of Muzokomba Primary School (Buhera South) a Mashonganyika and his staff were verbally threatened with unspecified action by Chipo Chin’ono (Zanu PF) on July 4, after hosting some white missionaries from America,” ZPP said.
“It is reported that the missionaries had visited the school to offer financial assistance towards the construction of teachers’ accommodation. Chin’ono allegedly approached the headmaster accusing him of bringing American spies camouflaged as church pastors,” read the report.
“He further accused the school staff of being MDC party activists and promised tough action against them in the run-up to the 2018 (elections). The threats have the potential to deny the school staff the chance to freely associate with a political party and agencies of their choice.”
The Jestina Mukoko-led civic organisation said police brutality, denial of freedom to demonstrate, discrimination and denial of food aid were the other major highlights for the month of July