THE alleged abduction and torture of Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe leader, Obert Masaraure, by suspected State security agents on Wednesday, is a glaring indictment on the government and a demonstration of how it is not keen on departing from its old political culture established by former President Robert Mugabe.

Quite clearly, the so-called “Second Republic” has failed to live up to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s hype regarding a new political culture, proving the government’s unwillingness to re-join the family of nations by upholding democratic tenets such as respect for human rights and allowing workers their right to demonstrate.

The government should simply sort out its political mess if it ever wants to deliver the economic salvation the majority of citizens are desperate for. Abducting, threatening or arresting outspoken people is not going to help its cause, both at home and abroad. It is really strange, but not surprising, that such horrendous acts on Masaraure would be carried out right at a time the government is engaging the European Union (EU) to try and curry favour with the powerful bloc after many years in the cold.

Since coming to power in November 2017, the Harare administration has wasted many opportunities it could have used to clean up its act and ensure it is fully embraced by the community of nations. Rather, it has continued to act like a rogue regime, dashing any hopes of real re-engagement. Several people have been killed by security forces under Mnangagwa’s two-year-old administration.

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Ironically, the just-ended three-day nationwide strike by rural teachers over low salaries and high cost of living was constitutional after a 14-day notice had been served to the State, which is probably why the powers-that-be resorted to unorthodox means to clip the teachers’ wings through abductions and torture.

Persecuting poorly-paid teachers, or any other worker for that matter, is not going to help the government’s cause, but will simply show its unwillingness to change despite all the rhetoric, most of which has proven to be just that – rhetoric. It’s time for the government to do some serious soul searching and do the right thing for the benefit of ordinary Zimbabweans, most of who are now regretting ever being part of the march that endorsed the military coup that ushered Mnangagwa to the helm in November 2017.