…. parents keep children from school to protest sale of school land
BIKITA - There was commotion at Nehanda Primary in Bikita East Ward 24 when parents told their children not to go to school in protest against council’s decision to carve away large pieces of school land for sale to home-seekers and businesses.
Parents also gathered at the school on Monday, November 04, waving placards that denounced what they called rampant corruption at the local authority.
The parents chanted that they will prepared to face off with council officials and defend their school from greed and corruption.
A source that spoke to TellZim News said parents raised issues of corruption in 2012 but nothing changed up until this year.
“Parents raised these issues seven years ago before shops were built within the school premises but all complains were in vain. Corruption in the allocation of land is increasing and all the school’s land is being sold to businesses and people who want to build houses. A bottle store was recently built in the school yard,” said the source.
Nehanda Primary was set up at the height of the Land Reform Programme, with the Ministry of Lands allocating 40 hectares to the school.
Parents, however, claim that council has consistently failed to respect the school’s boundaries and has been pegging off residential and commercial stands from that same 40ha.
“We are going to fight for the rights of our children until we find enough land for our children because even 12 hectares recommended by the Ministry of Education Policy is no longer available.
“Bikita RDC is intransigent, corrupt and badly managed. The school has been shrunk to a mere 7.5ha from the initial 40ha reserved for it during the Land Reform Programme,” another angry parent told TellZim News by phone.
When contacted for comment, Bikita RDC CEO Peter Chibi said he had not yet hear about the issue and promised to get back to TellZim News but had not done so by the time of going to print.
Bikita East Member of Parliament (MP) Johnson Madhuku said he had received reports about problems between parents and the school and had attended a meeting to try and resolve the dispute.
“Parents are really angry for what they suspect to be happening in council. It’s sad that children lost one day of school because of this. We are trying to work together to address the grievances of our parents and we have just had a meeting with the ward councilor and other stakeholders,” said Madhuku.