Being appointed a permanent secretary of any ministerial portfolio by a whole Head of State and Government is definitely a plausible feat for every private citizen but certainly NOT if you answer to the name Tumisang Thabela.
Under normal circumstances, Thabela (main picture) is naturally expected to have revelled when Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed her the Primary and Secondary Education perm sec but the decision by Government to commence the phased re-opening of schools this September has painstakingly put the top civil servant on a collision course with the social networking citizenry.
Thabela revealed the predicament she currently faces- esspecially on WhatsApp- while launching Grade 7 English and Mathematics handbooks at Lubuze Primary School in Filabusi, Insiza District.
The permanent secretary also revealed that some of the WhatsApp users have even gone to the extent of ‘inboxing’ her, telling her that ‘her decision’ to have schools reopened was nonsensical.
“Every day when I sit down at the end of the day, I have an average of 400 WhatsApp messages, especially during this time of Covid-19. Out of that 400, almost half are attacking me and telling me that what I’m doing is nonsense. ‘You can’t open schools, why do you want to risk the lives of our children and all sorts.’ And sometimes I wonder whether people who say this actually have children. If they have them, whether they have children in the public schools that I deal with,” Thabela lamented.
Instead of attacking her for the contentious decision taken by her ministry, Thabela said parents should, instead, proffer solutions on the safest ways to reopen the country’s schools that were prematurely closed on March 24, barely four days after the first Covid19 case was confirmed in the country.
“Because a parent who has a child whose life has been disrupted and continues being disrupted would rather come to me and see what we can do and see how we can move forward rather than the one who would say no child should go back to school,” said Thabela.
She also added that, while some parents and guardians do not want schools to reopen, they were the same people sending children outdoors- a situation which exposes the same children they purpotedly protect, to the coronavirus scourge.
According to Thabela, the ministry will continue working towards making a positive change in the education sector so that parents see the value of educating their children.
The Zimbabwe Government recently announced that schools were going to reopen for examination classes on 14 September after six months of closure due to the deadly virus.
Since March 30 this year, the landlocked southern African nation has been on a Covid19 induced lockdown.
Additional Reporting: Zwnews