School heads and pupils in Matabeleland North province, Zimbabwe have allegedly been ordered to attend President Robert Mugabe’s youth interface rally to be held in Lupabe at a date yet to be advised.
This is coming shortly after the Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe wrote to Zanu PF, accusing it of violating children’s rights by forcing them to attend party rallies addressed by Mugabe and his wife, First Lady Grace Mugabe since 2015.
The Mugabe rally which school heads and pupils are allegedly being forced to attend was supposed to be held today, but was postponed because the President is in Singapore, where he is reportedly undergoing medical check-ups.
The date for the rally is yet to be decided.
According to a June report by the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), school heads had been told to attend the rally together with pupils.
“On June 24, in preparation for the presidential interface rally in Lupane, school heads were told to attend the rally together with school children,” ZPP said.
“All other political parties have been barred from holding meetings until after the rally. There is increased police presence and other security details. People have also been told not to hold unnecessary gatherings without informing the police.”
Contacted for comment, Zanu PF Matabeleland North youth chairperson, Mbongeni Dube rubbished the claims, saying those were machinations by people, who want the rally to fail.
“Who is saying that? he asked.
“We are not forcing anyone to attend the rally, but we are saying anyone, who wants to meet the President, is free to attend.
“The claims are made by people, who just wish the rally to fail, but their attempts will come to nothing. As I speak, we are preparing for the rally and all is going well. Why would we force headmasters to attend the youth rally in the first place? These are all lies.”
On Wednesday, Dube told State media that they were mobilising more than 70 000 people to attend the rally, with 30 buses and 37 trucks being mobilised in three of the seven districts in the province to transport people to Somhlolo Stadium on the day.
He said they have sourced over 10 000 litres of fuel for vehicles meant to ferry people to the rally venue.
Last month, school children formed a sizeable chunk of the audience at Mugabe’s Masvingo rally.
The Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe has written to Zanu PF, accusing it of violating children’s rights by forcing them to attend party rallies addressed by Mugabe and his wife, First Lady Grace Mugabe since 2015.