ST Faith’s High School has been plunged into uncertainty which may jeopardise the proper administration of the school after the Anglican Church obtained an interim interdict and peace order against the head and his deputy, but the Government has refused to recognise two teachers appointed to act during their absence.
This follows an interim interdict and peace order granted in Mutare last week on Thursday barring St Faith’s head, Mr Anold Makamba and his deputy, Mr Irvine Mudangwe from carrying out official duties at the school.
In an ex-parte application, the trustees of the Anglican Diocese of Manicaland and the St Faith’s High School Development Committee (SDC) were accusing the duo of public abuse of office, instigating community and pupils riots that rocked the school recently.
They want the two transferred from the school, which is also taking disciplinary and legal measures against 26 pupils and 24 community members who allegedly led the riots.
The applicants want Messrs Makamba and Mudangwe barred from “interfering with the affairs of the proper administration” of the school and maintain peace with the staff and pupils as well as stop inciting violence at the school.
The church further argued that it appointed the two to their current positions by virtue of them being church members, and thus holds at law the right to transfer them without them interfering with that discretion.
“The two are complicit to the disturbances that took place on November 13, 2021. In addition, the two’s acts and conduct caused further disturbances to Ordinary and Advanced levels pupils’ preparations for their final examinations.
‘‘The smooth running of these important public examinations will be affected by the chaotic scenario being created by the two who are running parallel offices of school head and deputy.
‘‘Their conduct is also injurious to the good reputation and name of the church,” argued the applicants.
They also want the pair to pay costs of the suit at the attorney-client scale.
After getting the interim relief, the church, as the Responsible Authority, on November 19 appointed Mr Upenyu Kamuruko, an ordinary teacher, and Mr Taona Madziva, a senior master as acting head and deputy respectively.
Mr Madziva was forced to step down last week on Wednesday, while Mr Kamuruko, who is also a member of the church’s standing committee, asked for a two-day bed rest, after being snubbed by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
Outgoing Manicaland Provincial Education Director (PED), Mr Edward Shumba confirmed the crisis at the school, and said the ministry does not recognise any appointee besides the substantive head and his deputy.
He said the ‘‘appointees’’ will face misconduct charges for bulldozing their way into their ‘‘predecessors’’ offices and assuming ‘‘duties’’ without a proper hand-over-take-over.
“That is illegal. The church does not have the power to do that. The church is not the employer of these people. We do not know the administrative and leadership capabilities of the people they appointed. It is a poor way of handling a crisis. Even when you are in a crisis, you must still obey the law. What they did is against the law.
“Their appointees will be charged for misconduct because they accessed the head and deputy head’s offices as well as assumed duties without a hand-over take-over. They failed to obey lawful instructions, and are interfering with the smooth running of the school,” said Mr Shumba.
Messrs Makamba and Mudangwe lodged their notice of opposition on Wednesday.
The matter will be heard on November 29.
In opposing papers prepared by Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni Legal Practitioners, the two accused the church of overstepping its mandate to bar them from performing their duties.
They said the church was not their employer and issues relating to their conditions of service – discipline, appointment, dismissal or transfer — were labour matters governed by the Labour Act, Chapter 28:01, as read with the Public Service Act, Chapter 16:04 and Public Services Regulations Statutory Instruments 1 of 2000.
“I am informed that while we cannot access our offices because of the interim order, they have been accessed in our absence. There were vital documents and information in the offices, including our personal items. Vital information may have been tempered with in our absence. This includes on-going investigations by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) which had identified us as some of the possible witnesses.”
Messrs Mukamba and Mudangwe also denied instigating the riots, saying they were attending the Secretary’s Bell Merit Award in Rusape when the disturbances occurred.
“We have a right to be present at the school. We are substantive head and deputy head, respectively. If anything, it is the first applicant whose decisions are destabilising the school. If anyone must be reined in it is the first applicant. It is the first applicant who must seriously examine himself to check if the decisions . . . are in the best interest of the school.”
ZACC recently arrested Anglican Diocese of Manicaland Bishop, Eric Ruwona, the church’s standing committee members and four principals for collecting unsanctioned levies from the mission schools.
They were each granted $60 000 bail, and ordered not to interfere with State witnesses.
Messrs Makamba and Mudangwe also accused the church of fraudulently citing the SDC as the second applicant in the matter.
SDC chairman, Dr Lovemore Chipunza,has since written a letter to the Clerk of Court, Law Society of Zimbabwe and the diocese, distancing the body from the matter.
The letter, which forms part of the two’s joint record, reads: “The SDC never made a resolution to support this application, nor was there an affidavit from it filed in support of the application. The St Faith’s High School SDC was fraudulently cited as the second respondent without its knowledge and consent. The SDC is not part of this application, and by way of this letter requests this court not to be misguided by whoever decided to cite it as a party to an application we are not in support of.”