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MDC-T: Denying Children Education Violates Zim Constitution

The MDC formation led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Thursday accused the Zanu PF government of breaching constitutional provisions allowing for free basic education.

Addressing a news conference at the opposition party’s Harvest House headquarters Thursday, MDC-T shadow minister for basic education, Concillia Chinanzvavana, said the government was willfully violating the new constitution that provides for free basic education by failing to provide this service to primary school going children.

Zimbabweans adopted a new constitution last year in a referendum and the governing charter is explicit that basic education shall be free.

Chinanzvavana expressed concern that close to a million children may drop out of school because the government is failing to finance the Basic Education Assistance Model, a scheme set aside to assist under-privileged children in paying for their education.

The MDC-T shadow minister said the money allocated to the education ministry in this year’s national budget by finance minister Patrick Chinamasa was too little considering the requirements of the sector.

Chinazvavana also criticized the proposal by government to increase the salaries of civil servants by 26 percent saying it was a drop in the ocean.

Some donor agencies have withdrawn their funding in the education sector citing resource constraints but Chinanzvavana said massive corruption by Zanu PF officials prompted the agencies to withdraw their support.

In other news, Mister Tsvangirai met all mayors elected under his party’s ticket where he reportedly expressed concern on the failure by several local authorities to provide social services.

A statement released by Mister Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka following the meeting said the MDC-T leader was shocked by the councils’ failure to provide basic services to ratepayers and their failure to remunerate staff as a result of local government minister Ignatius Chombo in the operations of local authorities.

This follows Chombo’s directive to all local authorities to cancel all bills owed to them by ratepayers ahead of last year’s national elections.

The statement said several municipalities are now failing to service their debts while some councils are reportedly overstaffed by incompetent people who were employed along political lines.

Studio 7 failed to get a comment from Chombo.

Meanwhile, Mister Tsvangirai urged the mayors to be innovative and to prioritize service delivery to the residents.

The meeting also expressed concern on the delay in implementing a constitutional requirement on provincial councils especially for metropolitan provinces of Harare and Bulawayo.

Despite Zanu PF poor performance during elections in those two cities, President Robert Mugabe went ahead to appoint provincial ministers from his party that are responsible for those cities.