Bubi Villagers Protest Deputy Minister’s Sacking

1 week agoMon, 08 Jul 2024 14:22:32 GMT
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Bubi Villagers Protest Deputy Minister’s Sacking

Villagers in Bubi Constituency, Matabeleland North Province, have strongly decried the sacking of their Member of Parliament, Simelisizwe Sibanda, from his position as Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science, and Technology Development.

The dismissal was reportedly linked to Sibanda’s remarks against the deployment of a non-Ndebele-speaking teacher in the area.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week fired Sibanda after the MP allegedly demanded the transfer of a Shona-speaking Early Childhood Education (ECD) teacher who did not speak Ndebele, the primary language used by the majority of people in the constituency.

While Mnangagwa did not provide official reasons for dismissing Sibanda, it appears that the MP’s remarks on the language issue led to his sacking from the ministerial post.

As reported by Southern Eye, on Wednesday, villagers in Sibanda’s constituency pleaded with Mnangagwa to reinstate the MP, arguing that his expulsion was an excessively harsh decision that does not serve the best interests of the local community.

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The villagers made the remarks during a meeting they had at the Inyathi business centre. One villager, Max Mnkandla said:

Why did the president not call him for a disciplinary hearing and reprimand him?

While he may have violated protocols, we cannot run away from this issue as it has been a matter of concern for years.

The government must address this issue of teacher deployments in Matabeleland because it’s not the first time it has come up and certainly not the last time we are going to hear about it.

The villagers said they were preparing to submit a formal petition to the ruling ZANU PF party and Mnangagwa, seeking to present their case regarding Sibanda’s dismissal and the alleged unfair deployments of civil servants, particularly teachers, in their region.

Another resident, Senzeni Ndlovu, asserted that the government must address the issues that were raised by Sibanda before his removal from the Deputy Minister position.

Villager Davie Dube expressed concern that Sibanda’s expulsion from office could make other elected officials from the Matabeleland region hesitant to raise critical issues affecting their communities, for fear of facing similar repercussions. Said Dube:

We have the issue of Bulawayo- Nkayi road, which is in a bad state. There is no development in the region…

The government is failing to address all those issues, and when our elected representatives get fired for raising those matters, it raises concerns about the political will of the government to address such matters.

Our MPs will fear to ask for help out of fear of being fired.

Sibanda was fired after demanding the transfer of ECD teacher, Winnet Mharadze from Clonmore Primary School in Bubi Constituency, allegedly for not being proficient in the local language, Ndebele.

The ZANU PF MP had gone to donate uniforms to learners at the school, 55 km out of Bulawayo, off Harare Road near Gloag High School on June 24, 2024.

During a meeting attended by teachers, parents, and hundreds of learners, Sibanda directly confronted Mharadze by questioning why she had been deployed to the Matabeleland region and testing her language skills by asking her to define the Ndebele term “uqethu”.

As reported by CITE, uqethu means grass, and it is part of a common tongue twister among IsiNdebele speakers that goes “Qum’ qethu, ‘gecu ‘qethu,” which simply means cut the grass.

This was not the first instance of Sibanda criticizing Shona teachers in Bubi. Reports indicate that Bubi District education officials alleged the MP stirred controversy previously at Mbembeswana 1 Primary, where he also reprimanded Shona teachers who could not speak the local language.

More: Pindula News



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