Wednesday, 4 May 2016


 Police here banned the first anti-national pledge demonstration by the Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) yesterday, saying it had not been sanctioned by authorities and therefore, illegal.

Anti-riot police broke up the march by the far-left protesters in the city as they sought to demonstrate against a national pledge for children, which was introduced in schools at the start of the new term yesterday.

The demo, which was supposed to begin at Egodini Bus Terminus to Mhlanhlandlela Government Complex, was stopped immediately after the protestors began the march in the morning.

According to Mbonisi Gumbo, MRP spokesperson, their aim was to present the petition to the provincial office of the Primary and Secondary Education ministry demanding what they termed an end to the “violation of child-related crucial rights which entail the right to freedom of worship and basic education”.

Some parents and churches have protested the pledge, in which children will be made to recite every day after singing the national anthem.

In the national pledge, children pledge their allegiance to God and the national flag and pay their respects to “brave fathers and mothers who lost their lives in the Chimurenga”, the 70s war of independence against the minority white-led government that ushered in independence in 1980.

“We demand the end to the national pledge as it violates the rights of children and their parents as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe, and the articles of the African Union and the United Nations of which Zimbabwe is a signatory,” Gumbo said.

Sylvia Utete-Masango, the permanent secretary in the Education ministry, said on Monday: “The words in the pledge talk about hard work, commitment and dignity.
“I don’t know if there are parents who don’t want honest and hard-working children.”


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