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Teachers Citing Security Threats Abandon 200 Kilometer Protest Walk

FILE: Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe executive members marching from Mutawatawa to Harare.

The Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (RTUZ) has called off a 200-kilometer protest march by its executive members from Mutawatawa in Maramba-Pfungwe district in Mashonaland East to Harare citing alleged threats from state security agents in the province.

The 15-member team launched its march a week ago with plans to walk for 10 days advocating for better education in rural areas and other issues.

The union’s vice president, Thandiwe Dube, said they were threatened from day one of the march when they were allegedly threatened with death by members of the dreaded spy network Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) at Mutawatawa.

This happened after they tried to hand over a petition at the district education offices at the growth point.

The group was allegedly threatened again when it camped for the night at Mashambanhaka Primary School, at Nhakiwa Business Centre on the same night and at Murehwa Centre the following day where they were interrogated by security agents who accused them of trying to remove the government from power.

At Murehwa district, some of the arrested members faced charges of public nuisance which were later dropped by the state. But the president of the union, Obert Masaraure, was accused of allegedly contravening some provisions of the Public Order and Security Act.

Dube said they would, however, still hand over their petition to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education on Friday as planned despite abandoning the walk.

The group had covered about 120 kilometers of the expected 200 kilometers.

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