The Sunday News
RECENTLY the chair of Mshibini Adventist Primary School (MAPS) told the SDC meeting that the school authorities had submitted a payment plan to the Lupane Local Board (LLB) and the latter had accepted it. I say bravo after more than eight years of using the LLB’s land for free, something is beginning to stir up. But who is going to pay for the land? Certainly.
Mr Editor, it cannot be the parents, which is what the owner of the school, the Seventh Day Adventist West Zimbabwe Conference, are saying.
Parents pay fees which come in a long and varied series which include a Revolving Fund to the owner, the WZC and the teachers conversions, SDA teacher convections I suppose, spiritual activities and many more other payments.
There is also a project fee even if there is no project being undertaken at the school.
Parents are also paying the salaries of complementary teachers and employees. I have no quarrel or scruples with this one. My gripe and objection revolves around the funding of the construction of permanent classrooms since the temporal ones have exceeded their life span.
The parents cannot be expected to pay. Lupane Local board, as a common cause is a rural-cum-urban authority. The SDA is an international Christian organisation originating and based in countries with evolved economies, which in lay terms are called rich and or wealthy nations while Zimbabwe is a third world country.
Some of the parents of MAPS are simple mothers who subsist by selling vegetables and fruits in dishes on their heads and babies on their backs, and on hungry stomachs. They do this by day and by night they turn to commercial sex work just so they can feed and educate their children.
When I look at them I feel like crying. Other parents are simply not employed and generally indigent. The SDA church here in Lupane is exploiting the community in the most callous manner.
The school is MAPS legally and lawfully and who must construct it? We know its common cause that in Zimbabwe parents pay fees contrary to the Constitution but building a school for an international church organisation is something else.
The parents of the school have already funded the construction of the school hall. Whose is it? Certainly not for the church and yet the local congregation is using the facility by force, ngenkani yeganyavu.
The problem is that when the Ministry of Education officers come to the school to talk about Government policy and development at the institution they address parents which is the wrong audience altogether precisely because in the first place the establishment of the school was between the Government and the responsible authority the SDA. The parents were not there.
Could someone please assist some of us so that we put this issue into proper perspective? I am talking about legal assistance, the SDA church is not acting in good faith and is disrespecting the parents and by extension the community of Lupane Local Board.
One cannot exploit and further disadvantage a community which already has been exploited and disadvantaged by circumstances beyond its control.