BULAWAYO – Two unions have blamed derisory salaries after a deputy head allegedly hanged herself at a primary school in Mwenezi, Masvingo.
She has been named as Miriam Mzenda, nee Manyarara.
The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) and the Amalgamated Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) said Mzenda was found hanged in her house at Sarahuru Primary School on Tuesday morning by colleagues. She had travelled to Masvingo on Monday to collect her pay, and no-one saw her return until her lifeless body was found.
She was married to a head teacher based in Chivi and she leaves behind three children.
“Mthuli Ncube’s policies have killed Mrs Mzenda. She committed suicide,” ARTUZ said on Twitter, blaming her death on the finance minister. “Slave wages are the new guillotine claiming our teachers. The government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa is presiding over the killing of civil servants and untold suffering for those who live on.”
PTUZ secretary general Raymond Majongwe added: “No-one knows why she developed such thoughts, because it’s said she left town (Mavingo) where she had gone for pay and got back when it was late, so there is no-one she spoke to. It’s sad that a lot of our professionals are dying this way.”
Teachers earn roughly Z$70,000 (about US$10) in basic pay and US$250 in allowances made up of a US$75 Covid-19 allowance and a US$150 “cushioning allowance.” Unions are pressing the government to restore them to their 2018 salaries averaging US$540.
A relative who spoke anonymously to ZimLive said Mzenda made a phone call to her aunt while she was in Masvingo on Monday “and everything seemed well.”
“Friday was the pay date for teachers and she had gone to withdraw her salary. A link between her pathetic salary and her death cannot be ruled out given that so many teachers are walking graves, talking alone, a sign and recipe for one to take their own life,” the relative said.
National police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said he was yet to receive details of Mzenda’s death. — _*ZimLive*_