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Zimbabwe Teachers Charge ZANU-PF Youth Militants Setting Up in Schools

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said Tuesday that youth militants of the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe have set up bases in rural schools in a worrisome repeat of activities that occurred during last year's period of post-election violence.

Sources said there has been no overt violence but noted that ZANU-PF youth have intruded into a number of school and intimidated teachers over their political affiliations.

They said such ZANU-PF youth had taken over parts of school buildings to hold meetings, prominently displaying ZANU-PF banners and other regalia.

PTUZ President Takavafira Zhou told VOA that bases have been set up in primary and secondary schools in Chikarudzo, Masvingo province, Goromonzi, Mashonaland East, and in the the towns of Gokwe and Mberengwa in Midlands province.

VOA was unable immediately to obtain comment from Education Minister David Coltart on the reports that political pressures are again surfacing in the school system.

Youth Development Minister Savious Kasukuwere denied any knowledge of such bases. He said he was tied up in a meeting and could not grant an interview to studio seven.

Union leader Zhou says youth in ZANU-PF regalia have warned teachers against supporting any other party but have not committed violence against them.

Jephat Karemba, chairman in Mashonaland West province of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, told reporter Patience Rusere that ZANU-PF youth nave moved into two schools in the Zvimba West constituency.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...