In what appears to be a growing internal crisis, the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) is currently facing a significant leadership rift.
The union is witnessing a clash between its president, Obert Masaraure, and Secretary-General, Robson Chere, over the operational direction of the organisation.
According to a well-placed source within ARTUZ, tensions have escalated to the point where Chere has reportedly lost faith in Masaraure’s leadership.
“Chere is actively mobilising members for a vote of no confidence against Masaraure. He believes the organisation has deviated from its core mission under Masaraure’s leadership,” the source disclosed.
The source further revealed that Chere has been accusing Masaraure of turning ARTUZ into a personal 'cash cow', to the detriment of other members.
"There is a growing belief among some members that Masaraure is prioritising personal gain over the union’s objectives,” said the source.
This sentiment is reportedly strong in Bulawayo and other Matabeleland provinces, where Chere alleges that Masaraure has been obstructive in establishing a regional office.
“Chere is telling members that Masaraure doesn’t care about teachers from these regions, which is causing significant unrest within the union,” the source added.
Amidst this turmoil, Chere is reportedly positioning himself as a successor to Masaraure.
"He has been conducting a silent campaign, presenting himself as the next possible leader of ARTUZ, in case Masaraure is ousted,” the source noted.
In a related development, Masaraure recently met with representatives from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
During this meeting, the NED representatives expressed their concerns about Nelson Chamisa's leadership in opposition politics, suggesting Masaraure as a potential new face for the opposition in Zimbabwe.
This proposition, however, has not been well-received in various opposition circles.
"Many opposition figures are now viewing Masaraure with suspicion, and there is a consensus among some that he should be removed from his role at ARTUZ,” the source mentioned.
As the union grapples with these internal challenges, the future direction of ARTUZ and its leadership remains uncertain, casting a shadow on its role as a key advocate for rural teachers in Zimbabwe.