By Robson Nikita Chere
The President, Cde Obert Masaraure, Cdes and friends, all protocol observed. I welcome you to this event with revolutionary greetings as we converge not to celebrate this teachers’ day, but to commiserate about our collective plight and predicament as workers, as teachers and as a people. We meet not only to commiserate, but most importantly to join hands once again, to reconfigure our collective struggle as we march towards extricating ourselves from collective absolute poverty and its attendant indignities.
Cdes, there is no doubt that teachers are the foundation upon which all else is built. The founder of one of the biggest religions was called Rabbi after all! We are those hands that mould and shape children to become whomever they dream and envisage to be and we plead guilty to the charge that we unfortunately taught even politicians! Isn’t it therefore paradoxical that in this country the teacher is now regarded as a dispensable nuisance by a government that is intransigent and seems to be obsessed with destroying what little semblance of education in this country? The global theme for this year’s World Teachers day is ” Teachers: Leading in crisis, re-imagining the future”. The 5 October World Teachers Day is an annual event since 1994 an ILO/UNESCO reccomendation which sets benchmarks regarding rights and responsibilities of a teacher among other issues .Cdes it is in line with the global aims that we have also come up with a local theme “Restoring Teachers Dignity and Recalibrating the deteriorating education sector, Since We are meeting today when teachers are living or existing well below the poverty datum line.
We meet today when educators are being threatened everyday. We meet today as the government is using undue influence and duress to force educators to work for slave wages and dog tax. We did not become teachers because we had run out of options. We were called to be teachers. We have no illusion whatsoever about our worthy. We don’t owe our employer anything. It is not a previledge that we are employed by the state. It is our sacred right. We don’t want anything from those politicians in government but a living and just wage. And we will get it!
We reiterate and emphasise our unwavering commitment today to restore and accentuate our collective dignity. We will not allow greed and corrupt crooks masquerading as politicians and national leaders to bastadise our profession. We will leave no stone unturned and no turn unstoned as we seek financial justice from our employer. We insist today as we have always insisted that we will not be complicit in destroying and compromising the quality of education in this country. We don’t believe that an incapacitated teacher should be anywhere near a learner hence will stay at home until this uncaring and parasitic government does the correct thing. We refuse to be calpable in pretending to teach when in actual fact academic genocide will be taking place in our schools.
Cdes, we no longer have anything to lose hence it follows that we are invincible. We can’t protect what we don’t have. In light of that, I call upon as I hereby do all progressive unions and organisations to join ARTUZ as we educate and enlighten this government about labour relations and basic conditions of employment. Let love for our country, passion for education and selfless patriotism unite us as we correct this helpless government.
Zimbabwe, our motherland, may she survive till eternity through the commitment and courage of her sons and daughters.
Robson Nikita Chere is the Secretary General of Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe