Zanu PF torches 'fascist' schools storm

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe’s under-pressure government has torched another political storm after it proposed a new primary and secondary schools curriculum that compels children to salute the national flag and recite a pledge of patriotism — in a move which opposition parties have described as “fascist”.

While several countries around the world have national pledges, which are oaths of allegiance, opposition parties are wary of Zanu PF’s agenda — pointing at the country’s controversial national youth service where graduates have often become unthinking storm troopers for the governing party.

MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu told the Daily News yesterday that the imposition of the national pledge, which would be mandatory for all school-going children to take, was yet another Zanu PF tactic to establish “a fascist and totalitarian state in Zimbabwe similar to the reclusive North Korea”.

“They would like to brainwash our youth by feeding them with toxic propaganda that portrays Zanu PF as the sole patriotic and progressive political party in the country. The good thing is that this nefarious agenda will not succeed.

“Zimbabwe can never be another version of North Korea. We are now living in the digital age and as the MDC, we will do everything legally and politically possible to stop this madness,” Gutu thundered.

Other observers also say the national pledge initiative, which is being spearheaded by Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora, would infringe on children’s rights, including religious ones.

In the proposed pledge, children would be forced to recite: “Almighty God, in whose hands our future lies, I salute the national flag”.

Gutu said instead of coming up with viable and sustainable policies to alleviate the suffering of the majority of Zimbabweans, Zanu PF was “desperately clutching at straws” in its attempt to divert the nation’s attention by having children salute the national flag as well as reciting the “so-called” pledge.

“Section 3 of the Constitution articulates the founding values and principles of the Republic of Zimbabwe. We cannot have a so-called national pledge that is totally out of sync with the dictates of our founding values and principles as a nation.

“Our Constitution obliges us to respect the nation’s diverse cultural, religious and traditional values. Chapter 4 of our Constitution captures the Declaration of Rights.

“One can safely argue that the so-called national pledge violates the right to human dignity as espoused in Section 51 and it can also be viewed as some form of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in violation of Section 53 of the country’s supreme law,”Gutu, who is a lawyer by profession, said.

However, Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said there was nothing wrong in introducing such a curriculum in schools.

“Every flag is saluted. Patriotism is key. The flag is very key. If you cannot recognise your flag then you are not in Zimbabwe. This is not a Zanu PF flag, it’s a Zimbabwean flag. It is not a Zanu PF anthem, it is a national anthem. I don’t see a problem with that,” he said.

Asked why this had not been implemented in the past 36 years and only emerging now, Khaya Moyo said, “We are not in Rhodesia, we are in Zimbabwe. Things change every year”.

On the other hand, Fortune Mlalazi of Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP), said the move to make children worship a flag was “blasphemous”.

“While the idea of a national pledge is laudable, as PDP we want it to be categorically made clear that this national pledge violates the biblical teachings and principles, as well as the constitutional rights of children.

“God, through his word the Bible, clearly instructed us Christians not to swear. By forcing the children to swear, the minister is forcing them to commit a sin before God and, unfortunately, the wages of sin is death.

“Chapter 2, Section 19, sub-section (3) (b) of the Constitution clearly stipulates that the State must take appropriate legislative and other measures to ensure that children are not required or permitted to perform work or provide services that are inappropriate for the children’s age; or place at risk the children’s well-being, education, physical or mental health or spiritual, moral or social development,” Mlalazi said.

Comments (11)

Khaya Moyo and Dokora are smoking some weird weed ...36 years later it's now dawning on them to tell us about a Zimbabwean Flag. F%$#ng hell with your idea. These idiots have become so paranoid that they see non-existent enermies around them...that is called feared of NOTHING. One can buy a Zim flag patraffic light, pamusika. This reminds me of one first world country that abandoned policies of indoctrination after experimenting with its nation for 70 years. Stop preaching to us your useless gospels about patriotism...we have our fathers and mothers to teach us and not some lunatics who have destroyed our nation.

gamuchirayi - 1 April 2016

Khaya Moyo and Dokora are smoking some weird weed ...36 years later it's now dawning on them to tell us about a Zimbabwean Flag. F%$#ng hell with your idea. These idiots have become so paranoid that they see non-existent enermies around them...that is called feared of NOTHING. One can buy a Zim flag patraffic light, pamusika. This reminds me of one first world country that abandoned policies of indoctrination after experimenting with its nation for 70 years. Stop preaching to us your useless gospels about patriotism...we have our fathers and mothers to teach us and not some lunatics who have destroyed our nation.

gamuchirayi - 1 April 2016

these demagogues do it every now and then and I don't know why? one lunatic once proposed one uniform for all schools and another tried to rename school after the likes of nehanda etc. where does this madness come from?

SaManyika Chaiye - 1 April 2016

Like the chinese?

Baobab - 1 April 2016

Don't be fooled, these thugs are trying to divert our attention from bread and butter issues. Its a ploy.

Icho - 2 April 2016

" ... children to salute the national flag and recite a pledge of patriotism ..." He forgot to mention that children of the povo are excluded. As long as its their (Zanu-PF government ministers) children only who will bleat and kneel to pray under a flag post we have no problem with that. It will make perfect sense because they are the only ones who enjoy the fruits of independence from proceeds looted by their parents. Effectively there will be no school child to perform this Dokora ritual because all the Zanu-PF thieves children are abroad where they voluntarily sing national anthems of their host countries - for them the rot in Zimbabwe ( even the flag itself) stinks.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 2 April 2016

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