Image: eNCA

Zimbabwe’s teachers have threatened to withdraw their services as election officers for the upcoming August 23 poll in Zimbabwe if the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) doesn’t give them contracts.

They claim unfair treatment and abuse by ZEC and have given the electoral management body one week to address their issues.

Their main complaint is that ZEC has been paying teachers in local currency instead of the agreed-upon foreign currency when they were deployed as voter educators and inspectors.

Teachers argue that ZEC has a history of not paying on time and failing to provide written contracts.

The Educators Union of Zimbabwe has stated that teachers will not provide polling services until they are paid. The union’s secretary-general, Takavafira Zhou, told NewsDay:

“It must be made clear from the onset that ZEC is a consistent institution which never misses its tradition, a tradition of not paying on time, if it pays after all.

“ZEC has consistently maintained its culture of not having written contracts with teachers who shall partake in electoral duties.

“Gullible teachers are made to guess on the actual amounts that they might make out of this informal contract and they guess too when such amounts shall be reflected in their bank accounts. Teachers are withdrawing their services until they are paid.

“No contract, no polling services from teachers. No postal vote, no polling services from teachers. Any teacher choosing to go against these golden rules loses the right to complain after 23 August 2023.”

ZEC, in a memo, disclosed that it was paying election allowances in foreign currency to its staff seconded from the civil service. However, ZEC’s chief elections officer declined to comment on the contractual issues between ZEC and the teachers recruited for election duties.