One week into a strike by Zimbabwean civil servants, members of the feared Central Intelligence Organization and youth militia were reported to be forcing teachers in Masvingo and some rural areas to join the strike.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe President Takavafira Zhou said that members of his union were being driven out of schools in large numbers, raising suspicions about the CIO and militia involvement in the strike.
“It worries us when we hear that the CIO and youth militia are forcing teachers to join the industrial action,” Zhou told VOA. He said some political parties were trying to turn the strike by state workers to political advantage.
Public Service Association Deputy Executive Secretary Jeremiah Bvirindi told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that the government had not made a new salary offer since the strike was declared on February 5.
Senior government officials responsible for the civil service have not been available for comment since the strike started.
Organizations calling the strike include ZIMTA, the Zimbabwe Teachers Association, the Government Workers Association, the Professional and Technical Officers Association, the Government Officers Association, the Civil Servants Employees Association and Administrative and Executive Officers’ Association. Zimbabwe has some 265,000 state employees.