RECENTLY elected Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) legislator, Richard Tsvangirai has been told to “slow down” following his alleged petition discouraging school authorities in his constituency against sending away school kids over fees non-payment.
Tsvangirai allegedly petitioned sixteen schools in his constituency. In one of the letters addressed to one of the schools’ SDA Chairperson, the lawmaker warned that education standards in the constituency are at risk due to the errant conduct of sending kids away.
“It has come to my attention that many students are being sent back home on a daily basis because they have not paid their school fees. In my constitutionally mandated role of legislation and more importantly, in this regard, that of representation, I am deeply disturbed by such developments,” reads the letter in part.
The lawmaker said while the fees are important for the schools to function properly, that priority coupled with the need to keep children in schools as part of their basic rights must maintain a sound balance to achieve the constituency’s bright future.
“It is in light of this that I write to your good office, requesting a meeting so that we can find clarity and understanding of the issues raised above. I would very much appreciate it if we could come to a favorable understanding,” the letter said.
However, some school authorities in the constituency accused Tsvangirayi of jumping the gun.
“While we have noted his concerns. Our expectations are that before registering displeasure and reminding us of how important education is, as though to imply that in our capacities as SDAs leaders with students enrolled at the schools are unaware of that, he should have first sought to engage the schools and appreciate how such matters are handled,” an SDA chairperson who preferred anonymity said.
The SDA leader argued that sending away learners at all schools is never done unilaterally as it is a result of proper and thorough consultation from fellow parents who in turn mandate SDAs to effect such decisions. He alleged that the letters had also triggered anger in most school administrators and social media groups in the constituency.
Contacted for comment, Tsvangirai said the letters he wrote are not confrontational or an order per se, but a mere route towards constructive dialogue.
“I wrote these letters in a bid to engage and seek clarity on the matters at hand. I do not think there should be any problem with that,” he said.