US, UK embassies dole out US$18 000 to ARTUZ

by Christopher Makaza

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) President, Obert Masaraure and his Secretary General, Robson Chere allegedly took delivery of US$18 000 from two officials from US and British embassies to fund the union`s activities.

According to a source within the teachers` union, the two ARTUZ leaders reportedly received the money during a meeting held at a local restaurant where they had been summoned by the diplomats to brief them on ARTUZ activities after the union had been quiet for a long time.

The source revealed that during the meeting, the two were asked why ARTUZ had not been visible on the ground for a while to which they responded that they had plans to carry out an industrial action and a march like the previous Mutare-Harare one, but were currently incapacitated due to lack of funds.

Masaraure highlighted that they were also failing to effectively communicate with rural union members due to lack of communication resources. Each diplomat then pledged US$9 000 towards funding ARTUZ activities. The two also pledged smart phones to the union for easy communication among members.

Masaraure and Chere allegedly handed over a document to the diplomats with action plans on how they were going to execute their intended strike as well as their march which they say will be from Karoi to Harare.

According to the document which was leaked to this publication, ARTUZ wants to involve rural pupils in their strike and demonstrations after being inspired by the Njube High School teacher who organised students to demonstrate against fee hikes among other grievences.

In the document, ARTUZ also highlighted that it wants to rope in school children in their march from Karoi to Harare a distance of about 203km to force Government to pay teachers in US dollars. In 2018, about 102 ARTUZ members marched from Mutare to Harare, a distance of 275km also in protest to demand their salaries in United States dollars.