A PRIMARY and Secondary Education ministry official has ordered all secondary schools in Mberengwa to put together essays that chronicle how sanctions are hurting the country.

The essays are dubbed Anti-sanctions campaign from a school’s perspective as a social services deliverer.

In a memorandum sent to all schools in Mberengwa on Monday, district schools inspector Josta Nkomo, ordered all the learning institutions to compel students to write the essays on the subject and submit them to him.

The memorandum read: “Dear school heads: All schools are required to write an essay each on anti-sanctions today and submit it tomorrow morning at district office for onward transmission to Harare. Please don’t fail. Thank you.”

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Contacted for comment, Nkomo confirmed to Southern Eye that he indeed gave the instruction to schools in Mberengwa to write the essays.

“It is a competition that we are conducting on the subject. I have the blessings of the Ministry of Education in that programme. It’s a competition for pupils from Form 3 to Upper Sixth,” he said.

Some of the schools which received the order include Batanai, Bvumbura, Chamakudo, Chaora, Chavengwa, Chaza, Chibvute, Chegato, Chengwe, Cheshanga, Chibvumba, Chiedza, Chingechuru, Chimapire and Chingezi.

The Zanu PF-led government will on Friday hold sanctions marches around the country to pressure the US to lift the restrictive measures it imposed on the country in 2001 over concerns of gross human rights abuses, dearth of democracy and bad governance during the then President Robert Mugabe’s era. The measures have been renewed since with US leaders insisting the situation in Zimbabwe continues to deteriorate.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou, said Nkomo had abused his powers by forcing headmasters to dance to his wish on the contentious topic of sanctions.

“Such arrogance of the DSI is tantamount to abuse of power and lack of professionalism as it treats headmasters as if they are an extension of his kitchen. As PTUZ we urge officials to ensure that districts are run in a professional manner that promotes effective and efficient teaching and learning as products of appropriate supervision,” he said.

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Obert Masaraure told Southern Eye that the exercise was bent on manipulating students.

“The government has adamantly resisted our calls for safe schools, the best we can do is to protect our learners from manipulation,” he said.