Church wants St Faith’s head out

The Anglican Diocese of Manicaland has expressed its intention to pursue the removal of St Faith’s High School head, Mr Arnold Makamba, following disturbances that occurred when Lower Sixth students returned to school last week.

The chaos which resulted in a fist fight between parents and a priest, emanated from several issues that the parents and the diocese have been at loggerheads over, chief among them, the payment of a US$600 mission fund.

While a High Court application challenging the mission fund is still pending, the diocese has insisted that parents should pay the fund, but parents through the School Development Committee (SDC) and the school head are against this.

Manicaland Diocese Bishop Eric Ruwona (pictured) said the disturbances that keep occurring at the school were being caused by the head’s failure to recognise and respect the church’s values and rules for its schools.

He said Mr Makamba insisted on going against the church at every turn, which was testament to his failure to continue running the school on behalf of the church.

“The way forward is clear; if you are the head and you do not agree with how the school is run, then you should move elsewhere and let the church run its school the best way they know.

“You cannot oppose the same people who recommended you to become head of their school. So in the same way that we recommended Mr Makamba to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, we will recommend to have him removed from the position,” he said.

Bishop Ruwona said the church had values that guided the running of each of their 54 schools across the country hence the failure to follow these was a sign that Mr Makamba was not interested in being part of the school.

He also claimed the fights that ensued at the school this week had been engineered by Mr Makamba, who he said had hired thugs to discredit the church.

“Those people who were demonstrating were not parents, they were hired by the head to cause confusion. All the parents remained in their cars as the events unfolded because it would be folly for a parent to fight the authorities who will be taking care of their children.

“Those people were trying to embarrass the priest and he defended himself. The police have already arrested some of those people and investigations are still underway,” added the bishop.

With regards to the mission fund, he said it was not only schools in Manicaland that were expected to collect the money from learners but it was applied in all 54 Anglican schools.

This, he said, was part of funds used to develop infrastructure at the schools and cited the building of two classroom blocks at St Faith’s and a dormitory at St David’s Bonda High School.

He said the head and SDC at St Faith’s High school were disregarding recommendations made by the Ministry after a tripartite negotiation last year.

“The responsible authority (diocese) had a meeting with the Provincial Education Director, the SDC and the head was there and we agreed on how the enrolment process would go. The PED tasked us to go and work over the details and we were supposed to have a follow up meeting, so what happened is actually a disregard of that agreement we made,” added Bishop Ruwona.

When schools opened for the first term last month, there was chaos after it emerged that it had over enrolled Form 1 learners. This, according to reports, happened after the responsible authority allegedly conducted a parallel enrolment exercise causing the number of form 1 learners to balloon and put a strain on school resources.

Some of the sticking points for the disputes between parents and the church have also emanated from the move by the diocese to privatise some of its best performing schools. These include St Faith’s High School, St David’s Bonda Girls High School, St Augustine’s High School and St Mathias Tsonzo High School.

The local community in Rusape have been adamant that St Faith’s school should not be privatised as this would negatively affect them and their children.

The payment of the Mission Fund for learners returning for Lower Sixth class was also another problem as most parents said it would be a duplication because they would have paid it at Form 1.



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