Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Four and a half bananas

TOP del.icio.us

Raymond Majongwe President of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, was arrested on Wednesday for visiting schools in Harare to speak with the teachers there. He was released Thursday night without charge because, like he said, he didn’t do anything wrong. Even Zimbabwe’s repressive laws allow the leader of a trade union to go to his or her members’ work places and speak with them during working hours.

Majongwe pointed out that he was picked up after the headmistress of Mabvuku High School reported him to Law and Order. What is it that makes some people want to support the regime by turning other people in? This headmistress goes to the same shops, she rides the same commuters, she sees the same vendors as the rest of us. What does she gain from turning in Majongwe?

Apparently, she was upset that she heard him saying that the teachers are earning 17 bananas a day. If that really is what she heard, she was right to be taken aback. Teachers are actually earning more like 4 and a half bananas a day, according to Majongwe. That’s right. The average teacher on the average salary earns enough to buy 4 and a half bananas a day.

Meanwhile, Mugabe seems to be agreeing with Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono that it’s a good idea to freeze prices and wages at the current level from 1 March to 30 June. Seeing as how inflation is Enemy Number One (1) and has now been declared illegal. But already, nurses, doctors, teachers, and others are striking for higher wages, because their salaries are far below what they need to survive. If wages don’t go up before this planned freeze, we’re looking at even more trying times ahead.

One comment to “Four and a half bananas”

  1. Comment by Kubatana.net speaks out from Zimbabwe » Blog Archive » Stay put or stay poor:

    [...] Like most Zimbabweans, teachers have spent the better part of this year trying to have their wages keep up with inflation. Earlier this year, Raymond Majongwe, the Secretary General of the Progressive Teacher’s Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) was detained by the police for stating the simple truth that, at the time, a teacher’s salary was only enough to afford four and half bananas a day. [...]