Zimbabwe President Fires Deputy Minister Over Alleged Tribal Remarks

July 1, 2024
Simelisizwe Sibanda | Report Focus News
Simelisizwe Sibanda

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has dismissed Simelisizwe Sibanda, the Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science, and Technology Development, with immediate effect. The announcement was made on Monday by Chief Secretary Martin Rushwaya, though no official reason was provided.

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) suggested that Sibanda’s removal was linked to alleged tribal remarks. Sibanda reportedly criticized a teacher in Matabeleland for her Shona surname and demanded her transfer, claiming she couldn’t speak the local language, which he said was detrimental to early childhood development (ECD) learners.

Sibanda, who is also the Member of Parliament for Bubi Constituency in Matabeleland North, visited Clonnmore Primary School and instructed the school head to transfer the teacher. He argued that ECD teachers should be proficient in the local language to effectively teach the children.

In response to the allegations, Sibanda denied promoting tribalism, insisting his actions were in line with government policy on teacher deployment. He emphasized that his intent was to ensure ECD learners receive proper education in their mother tongue.

This incident has sparked discussions on tribalism and the deployment of teachers in Zimbabwe, highlighting the sensitivity and complexity of such issues in the country’s education system.