The angry clergy in a blue-collar shirt identified as Mavhezha assaulting Village-head Fungai Changadzo, prompting the restive parents to intervene
TEMPERS flared at St Faith’s High School on Wednesday, with a priest from Anglican Diocese of Manicaland showing his boxing skills as parents who escorted Form Five learners bulldozed their way into the school after the church had hired armed security guards to barricade the entrance to enforce payment of the US$600 mission fund.
Videos of the acrimony went viral on the social media with an angry clergy in a blue-collar shirt identified as Mavhezha assaulting Village-head Fungai Changadzo, prompting the restive parents to intervene.
The clergy then indiscriminately shoved those who were advancing towards him, threatening ‘to kill someone’.
He was restrained by three men, but went on to punch a physically challenged man who was walking with the aid of clutches. The man fell on the ground.
This agitated the people who manhandled him, and his clergy clothes were torn in the melee.
Acting Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Wiseman Chinyoka confirmed the incident and said investigations are in progress.
Though the school’s stakeholders, including Government, are against the payment of the mission fund, the church is unyielding in its demands, setting a breeding ground for chaos each time the school recruits Forms Ones and Fives.
The diocese is adamant on monetising access to its best performing mission schools — St Faith’s High, St David’s Bonda Girls High, St Augustine’s High and St Mathias Tsonzo.
Stakeholders at St Faith’s High School have stiffly resisted the move since its introduction in 2021.
The school hogged the limelight for the wrong reasons last month when schools opened for the first term following an over enrolment of Form Ones after the responsible authority, Anglican Diocese of Manicaland allegedly conducted a parallel enrolment exercise motivated by the desire to collect the mission fund.
The school is not enforcing the payment of the fund citing a pending High Court application challenging it.
This allegedly compelled the diocese to run a parallel enrolment exercise in which it was collecting the fund (U$600) causing the enrolment numbers to shoot through the roof, stretching everything at the school – dormitories, classrooms, utensils, furniture, food and teaching staff – beyond the limit.
Like in the first incident, officials from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, were on Wednesday forced to call in the police to ensure that sanity prevails as some parents and members of the local community became restless and confronted the security guards – supervised by Mavhezha.
Manicaland Provincial Education Director (PED), Mr Edward Shumba yesterday (Thursday) confirmed the disturbances, and said the situation normalised after the intervention of the police.
“What I know at the moment is that all the learners, the Lower Sixes are now tat the school. Yes, we had a problem where some people thought they would bar those who had not paid the mission fund from entering the school premises, but we applied the law. The police were called in to make sure that learners gain entrance into the school. As we speak normal teaching and learning is taking place at the school,” he said.
Diocese spokesperson and registrar, Mr Ashel Mutungura said he was in a meeting when contacted for a comment.
“I am in a meeting and will get back to you when done,” he said.
Church member, Mr Chad Ruwende accused the diocese of greed, adding that the levying of such an exorbitant fund will negatively affect the less-privileged and reinforce social exclusion as choice will only reside with the relatively affluent members of the society.
He insisted that the privatisation of Anglican schools in the province is being used as a proxy for self-aggrandisement and profiteering by a powerful clique in the church.
“They hired seven security guards with two dogs and baton sticks. They stationed them at the main gate to screen those who had paid the mission fund and turn away those who had not. The school enrolled about 90 Lower Five learners, out of which only 10 had paid the mission fund despite the pending High Court application challenging it.
“Those who did not pay were denied entry and parked outside the gate waiting for other parents to arrive. The parents demanded proof of the approval of the mission fund, but the responsible authority could not offer any. The parents chanted slogans denouncing the mission fund.
“What irked them most was that they were charging returning learners US$600. The parents insisted that they will pay approved fees,. Members of the local community joined the fray and teamed up with them to force their way into the school. The guards tried to stop them, but were overpowered. This is how the children were taken to the dormitories,” he said.