Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe
|Key people||Obert Masaraure (President), |
Descent Bajila (Vice President)
Robson Chere (National Secretary General)
|Motto||"Servimng Our Nation, Saving our Profession and Livelihoods"|
|Formerly called||Rural Teachers Union in Zimbabwe|
The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), formerly Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, is a teachers' trade union focused on the needs of teachers employed in the rural areas in Zimbabwe. It was founded in 2009 and launched officially in Harare on the 12th of March 2013. Its current president is Obert Masaraure.
In January 2019, ARTUZ held one of its most visible demonstrations against the government of Zimbabwe which employs its members. Its main demand was that the salaries of its members be paid in USD following the currency crisis of 2016 - 2019 that eroded the value of the Bond Notes and RTGS salaries.
Mutare to Harare March
In December 2018, ARTUZ organised a march of its teachers from Mutare to Harare to speak out against the plight of rural teachers. ARTUZ was marching to get audience with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Mthuli Ncube who they were asking to pay them in USD dollars are the currency crisis had eroded RTGS salaries. The march which ARTUZ called The Salary Caravan, started on 8 December. The March was undertaken by about 64 members.
9 of its members where arrested in Marondera and detained. The arrested were Obert Masaraure, Robson Chere, Godfrey Chanda, Gerald Takawira, Christine Jubane, Takemore Mhlanga, Regai Chinhuto, Brenda Musavengana and Taurai Boora. Eventually some of the members were released. However the march continued with members that had not been arrested.
On 20 December The march reached Harare and presented a petition at Mthuli Ncube's offices. The ARTUZ then started what they called the Salary Camp in January, which was essentially a camping at the Nvube office until he addressed their demands which were: We are demanding,
- Adequate learning material for the new curriculum,
- Salaries in United States dollars,
- 2018 annual bonus in full,
- Scrapping of the 2% tax.
The participants in the salary camp would march daily from the Africa Unity Square with the pockets drawn out to signify that they were broke.
On 7 January members were arrested again in Harare and released the same day without any charges. They were represented at police by activist and human rights lawyer, Doug Coltart.
On 13 January 2019, ARTUZ announced that it supports a stayaway called for by the ZCTU. The stayaway turned violent after protestors around the country barricaded roads and looted shops. See January 2019 Protests.
On 18 January, ARTUZ leader, Masaraure was abducted from his home by security agents. He was later handed over to the police and the next day charged with treason.
Legal Battle with Zanu-PF To Stop Coercing School Children to Attend Political Rallies
In June 2018, ARTUZ filed an urgent chamber application against Zanu-PF and the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to stop them from interfering with learners in rural areas. Activities in wanted stopped included:
- coercing school children to attend and participate in political rallies or other activities of the first respondent;
- causing the closure of schools to accommodate the first respondent’s political activities;
- compelling teachers to attend the first respondent’s political rallies;
- compelling teachers to wear the first respondent’s party regalia, and to prepare performances for school children to deliver at its rallies;
- compelling teachers to make contributions in cash or kind towards the first respondent’s rallies;
- commandeering school premises, school buses, furniture, or other property for first respondent’s political rallies