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Monday, January 30, 2023
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Union leaders’ utterances regarding Rwanda deal irresponsible – Government

By Justin Mahlahla

The government has dismissed as unfounded and irresponsible claims by the Education Union of Zimbabwe, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe regarding the conditions of service of Zimbabwean Educational personnel and other specialists seconded to the Republic of Rwanda.

In a statement the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare castigated the leaders of the three teachers’ unions – Mr. Tapedza Zhou, Mr. Takavafira Zhou and Dr. Obert Masaraure for utterances meant to tarnish the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which underpins the exchange arrangement between Zimbabwe and Rwanda.

According to the Ministry, the three have been peddling falsehoods to the effect that Zimbabwean teachers in Rwanda are not being allowed to communicate with their families back home and that they are earning measly salaries based on contracts that were not disclosed to them during recruitment.

“It is unfortunate that the afore mentioned individuals have sought to find relevance through spreading falsehoods on a programme that has strengthened collaboration between two countries. The Government of Zimbabwe remains resolute to protect its citizens through extending similar bilateral labour agreements with countries hosting Zimbabweans using the Rwandan experience as a benchmark,” the statement reads.

The Ministry explained that the educational skills transfer programme between the two sister Republics was undertaken after careful planning, negotiations and rigorous engagement among experts of both countries.

“The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which underpins the exchange arrangement has become a continental template for Bilateral Labour Agreements as it mainstreams all principles and facets of fair labour migration and decent work. It was examined by specialists from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and experts from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) who both confirmed that the MoU is in sync with International Labour Standards and also meets fundamental principles of fair and ethical labour migration. Suffice to mention that the MoU was also subjected to national approval processes for public agreements and met all expected requirements. Accordingly, there is no shred of truth on the baseless utterances regarding the MoU as submitted by the aforementioned failed politicians masquerading as trade unionists,” it said.

Moreover, the Government of Zimbabwe comprehensively prepared the educational experts and other specialists through a pre-departure training programme where all relevant information regarding deployment to Rwanda was availed to all successful candidates including expected conditions of service in Rwanda, said the statement.

“This was meant to give successful candidates an opportunity to make informed decisions prior to accepting the offer for employment in Rwanda. Representatives of the Republic of Rwanda also participated in the pre- departure training. The Government of Zimbabwe also facilitated the signing of contracts in Zimbabwe by the successful candidates with a view to guaranteeing the agreed conditions of service before departure for Rwanda. All the successful candidates who signed contracts before departure were satisfied with the proposed terms as they surpassed their expectations.”

According to the Ministry, the Rwandan Government magnanimously offered to pay rent for the first three months with a view of enabling the seconded personnel to easily settle and adjust to the experience in Rwanda, in addition to facilitating the acquisition of work permits for all the recruited educational experts and other specialists from Zimbabwe which guarantees them rights of stay in Rwanda as well as access to financial services.

This has seen most applying for loans to initiate projects back home.

“It is misleading to suggest in this era of modern technology that the teachers are not allowed to communicate with their families directly. The Government of Rwanda facilitated the provision of mobile phone sim cards to every recruited Zimbabwean on arrival with pre- loaded minimal air time to facilitate communication with families. The Zimbabwe Embassy in Rwanda has also been going around the work stations providing consular services to the seconded Zimbabwean experts and specialist in Rwanda. There is verifiable evidence that the Government is inundated with requests from those in Zimbabwe regarding next recruitments on account of positive reports from those who are now working in Rwanda.:

“The Government of Zimbabwe is very satisfied with the situation of the educational personnel seconded in Rwanda. The teachers who are in constant communication with both the Zimbabwe Embassy in Kigali and the Joint Recruitment Committee from Zimbabwe have expressed satisfaction with their condition of service in Rwanda such that most have requested the facilitation of their families to join them in Rwanda which is a clear testimony of the prevailing situation at their work stations. So the purported narrative of slavery conditions does not hold water. Furthermore, the seconded teachers and other specialists in Rwanda have responded with dismay at the shameless utterances by those seeking undeserved relevance. Adding that “They want to fly here on the pretext of fact finding.””

The Government of Zimbabwe has therefore assured the nation including the families of the recruited teachers and other specialists that it will continue to cooperate with the Rwandan Government to ensure the protection of the welfare of its Citizens seconded to Rwanda.

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