MASVINGO-The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) has launched a petition against politicians using school pupils, premises and resources as buses during the election season.
The petition seeks the prohibition of school officials from communicating political message, banning teachers from spreading their political views to students, coercion of teachers and students to participate in partisan politics, wearing party regalia and erecting campaign material as posters and billboards in school premises.
ARTUZ president Obert Masaraure told The Mirror that the petition began last week and will be submitted to international organisations.
School premises, pupils and busses are usually used or hired by politicians during the election period.
“We are campaigning against the abuse of school properties by politicians in pursuit of political power. Politicians must leave schools when they are doing their rallies because on most cases pupils have been left disadvantaged.
“Our thrust is to protect schools from political interference because many schools were abused by politicians and political parties must never coerce members of the school system to donate to their private political activities.
We witnessed many political events where school buses were used to ferry people and in some circumstances politicians conducted their rallies at schools thereby leaving a trail of destruction on school properties,’’ said Masaraure.
Justice Joseph Mafusire who was at the High Court in Masvingo also barred the use of school buses to carry party supporters to rallies during the 2018 election buildup.
A Mapanzure High School bus was involved in an accident in 2022 while carrying some Zanu PF women’s league members to a cook-out competition in Victoria Falls and is yet to be replaced.