Sacked minister issues apology to Mnangagwa, Zanu PF

Simelisizwe Sibanda says rants over Shona teacher not influenced by tribalism

By Staff Reporter

Sacked Higher and Tertiary Education deputy minister, Simelisizwe Sibanda has issued a public apology over his controversial directive for education authorities in Matabeleland North to transfer a Shona speaking teacher who was taking ECD classes even though she was not fluent with the local Ndebele language.

She was named as Winnet Mharadze, a teacher at Clonnmore Primary School in Bubi district, Matabeleland North.

Sibanda is Zanu PF legislator for Bubi constituency in Matabeleland North.

Sibanda came under fire for perceived tribalism when he ranted at education authorities ordering the “immediate” transfer of the teacher.

He found it irrational that a teacher who was taking a junior class was failing to communicate with the infants in isiNdebele.

The politician was on Monday fired by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Reasons for his sacking were not given but it was apparent Mnangagwa was making reacting to his minister’s touch handling of the teacher’s case.

In a statement, Sibanda admitted his handling of the matter was “misguided and inappropriate”.

“I understand that my approach to addressing the issue of a teacher’s language proficiency was misguided and inappropriate, leading to perceptions of tribalism.

“I want to assure the public and especially the teachers that my intention was solely to ensure that our children receive quality education, and I was concerned about the teacher’s ability to communicate effectively with her students.

“However, as a national leader, I should have addressed this issue through appropriate channels, avoiding public platforms that may have fuelled the tribal connotations.”

He added. “I understand that my actions may have perpetuated tribal divisions, and for that, I truly apologise to the whole teaching fraternity and nation at large. I want to assure the public that my commitment to our nation’s unity and development has always been genuine.”

Sibanda also pleaded for forgiveness from his party Zanu PF.

“I understand the party’s values of unity and inclusivity, and I regret any harm caused by my lack of judgement. I hope that the party and its members will accept my sincere apologies and recognize my commitment to our nation’s progress,” he said.

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