Rito police dispatched to Kriste Mambo High School
By Tatenda Mabasa
RUSAPE – Kriste Mambo High School in Rusape has been rocked by a student protest with hundreds walking out of the school.
The strike action by the girls has left the education delivery process in turmoil as nearly 600 female students trooped out of school on Sunday, only to be intercepted by police some 25km away on their way to the district education offices.
“You have made your point, and investigations into your grievances are starting tomorrow (today). We are supposed to be through by Friday. We are expecting your co-operation, because the process involves interviewing each of you,” said Makoni deputy education officer Mr Creezin Chofamba.
The unrest started on Saturday after security guards at the school allegedly beat up five school boys from neighbouring St Faith’s High School who had accompanied their relatives for a Form One entrance test that was being held at Kriste Mambo.
The pupils cited abusive treatment by a named security guard and their matron. A source close to investigations said they had interviewed nine pupils over the issue.
“There is disengagement between school management and the students who have a lot of complaints. The students allege that for many years they have been forced to buy all the uniforms, including those for sports, from the headmaster’s wife.
“This is in contravention of Statutory Instrument 89 of 1992 that governs the operations of school development committees,” the source said.
“It is clear in the instrument that the headmaster and his wife or any member of the SDC must not engage in any contract with the school because they have an unfair advantage over other bidders as they have knowledge of funds in the school account.”
The source said some of the uniforms sold to the pupils were of cheap quality.
“The children said the uniforms were expensive yet they were of cheap quality. The other issue that ignited the whole saga was that of two Form Four pupils from St Faith’s High School, Tinotenda Gwikwi and Blessing Mushekeni, who had visited Kriste Mambo. They were allegedly beaten up by the guard at the school, prompting pupils from Kriste Mambo to protest.”
The source said a similar situation had happened at the school in 2010.
“Something needs to be done because this is not the first time for such a thing to happen. This is a Roman Catholic School and the head seems to get support from the provincial church leadership despite the wrong doings,” added the source.
The headmaster, Mr Andrew Mvere, refused to comment.
“They have some issues. However, I cannot talk to you as policy does not allow me to talk to reporters,” said Mr Mvere.
The students were addressed by the police, parents’ representatives, and officials from the education ministry — who all pleaded with them to allow the ministry time to do its investigations.
Superintendent Alfred Kasingarirwi confirmed the disturbances at the school and said the situation was under control. It took the intervention of the riot police to restrain the students. The police were deployed at the school overnight.
“In the meantime you will not be allowed to demonstrate. You will not be allowed to walk out of the school again. The police will not hesitate to deal decisively with you. Remember some of you are writing the June exams, and you are creating a bad environment for them,” said Supt Kasingarirwi.