The president of the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, Takavafira Zhou, says they won’t take part in the mass stay away set for Wednesday and Thursday as they have not been consulted by the organizers of the protests, including Pastor Evan Mawarire of #ThisFlag movement, who was arrested this morning.
In an interview, Zhou said unlike last week when teachers affiliated to his organization were part of the protest, they won’t participate in the mass stay away this week.
“I think I should make the point very clear, as leaders we have not been consulted by Pastor Mawarire and his colleagues from Tajamuka. Last week we participated because we had a well-planned strike by civil servants.”
Zhou claimed that the organizers of the protests are making unilateral decisions on staging the nationwide stay away and as a result the PTUZ can’t be seen to be supporting such events.
“We have not been consulted and we have not also had a chance to consult our members so we cannot go ahead. We are mere leaders who get a mandate from the constituency but this time we have not been given that mandate so we cannot participate. We also want to warn leaders that this is not a space for competition to claim glory and credit for the success of the stayaways. We need a conclusive approach to the whole thing and consult each other rather than to make unilateral decisions.”
Pastor Mawarire has Zimbabweans to take part in the stay away saying their demands have not yet been met by President Robert Mugabe’s government.
Activists have urged the 92 year-old Zimbabwean leader to step down for allegedly failing to run the country. They also want government to lift a ban on food imports that had become the lifeline for many unemployed citizens and the arrest of corrupt ministers, among many other issues.