Following the exposure of a shocking sexual abuse case in which a Form Three pupil at a Mutare college is alleged to have forced three Form One pupils to lick his private parts, the future of the institution’s boarding facility remains bleak as officials from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education have recommended its closure.
Manicaland Provincial Education Director, Mr Edward Shumba, confirmed the incident which happened at the Ezekiel Guti Academy situated near Zimunya Township along the Mutare-Chimanimani Highway.
The case came to light after the father of the accused pupil visited The Manica Post offices to complain over the manner in which the case was handled by the school’s administration.
Mr Shumba said the college, which was an independent institution, had not been cleared to have boarding facilities.
He said the sexual abuse case allegedly took place in the students’ halls of residence, adding that the institution’s set-up does not make room for the monitoring of students in their dormitories.
“We have gathered that a disciplinary hearing was done and the suspected learner was expelled from the boarding facility and is now attending school as a day scholar. However, the boarding facility at this school is illegal and we have since told them to shut it down.
“These colleges do not have room for boarding facilities. There are certain things that are supposed to be available at a boarding school, including the quality of care that has to be given to boarders. All these are definitely lacking at this college.
“This case should have been formally reported to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. I don’t have a written version of what actually took place, but the report I got is that the abuse was investigated at the school.
“While this is an independent college, we have told the institution’s officials that this is not acceptable. We have told them that they need to do away with the boarding facility as they are clearly failing to take care of the boarders. They have no capacity to do that. This case has exposed their shortcomings,” he said.
However, the college’s board member, Mr Samuel Mutsaga, said he was not aware of the ministry’s directive for them to close the boarding facilities at the institution.
“I am not aware of that. I will have to talk to the principal first and then engage the ministry over that issue.
“Coming to the sexual abuse case, the board was briefed about the issue by the principal and our understanding is that the involved student was found guilty and is no longer a boarder at the college.
“If this boy’s parent is not happy with the way the hearing was conducted, he should have followed proper procedures and brought his complaint to our attention, not to take the issue to the media. His actions are meant to tarnish the good image of the college,” said Mr Mutsaga.
School principal, Mr Silas Kaziboni said they are a Christian institution that does not tolerate any wayward behaviour.
“That pupil acted wrongly and as a school we need to send a clear message that we do not condone such behaviour. A disciplinary committee was set up and it found him guilty.
“All the affected students received counselling from the college’s chaplain so that they get over this embarrassing episode.
“Our boarding facilities are up to standard save for a few upgrades the ministry recommended. We are working on those.
“Hopefully when schools open next term everything will be in order,” he said.
But the accused pupil’s father who cannot be named to protect the juvenile’s identity claimed that a kangaroo disciplinary hearing was conducted in the absence of witnesses in order to chuck his son out of the learning institution’s dormitories.
“This whole thing was a set-up. I told the school’s administration that the case should be thoroughly investigated, even enlisting the services of the police. There were no witnesses as the victims who are said to have been abused are telling a different story. They say they were never abused.
“The case was not reported to the police as there are no witnesses or any evidence. They have no right to expel my son from the boarding facilities,” he fumed.