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Zimbabwe Teachers Union Calls Off Strike Amid Charges of Politicization

Many Zimbabwean teachers were back in classrooms Monday following news this weekend that the Zimbabwe Teachers Association would end its three-week strike.

The decision by the teachers organization followed reports that ZANU-PF youth activists in the eastern province of Manicaland were beating up teachers from the rival Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe who were only striking on Thursdays and Fridays.

Zimta officials said the strike was being hijacked by political elements thus undermining their cause. They added that they wanted to give negotiations with the government a chance and balance the interests of teachers and students preparing for final exams this term.

Independent sources said some teachers even in Harare and other cities had not yet returned to work because they had not received Zimta circulars regarding the end of the strike. The sources said the return to classes could be even slower in rural schools.

Zimta Secretary General Richard Gundani told reporter Sandra Nyaira that his union is not affiliated with any political party but is striving to ensure teachers receive a living wage.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe President Takavafira Zhou said in an interview from Masvingo that his organization’s recent charge that the Zimta strike was being pushed by the former ruling ZANU-PF party has been vindicated by the latest turn of events.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...