HomeLocal NewsWar vets probed for allegedly forcing pupils to watch exhumations

War vets probed for allegedly forcing pupils to watch exhumations

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THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education, Arts, Sport and Culture says it is investigating reports that war veterans in Rusape recently force-marched pupils from the surrounding community to watch as they exhumed human remains at Magamba Heroes Acre.

Report by Veneranda Langa

Acting committee chairman David Chimhini yesterday confirmed that his team was seized with the matter.

“I can confirm that the issue has been brought before the committee by whistleblowers and in a closed session the committee discussed the issue and recommended further investigations should be done,” said Chimhini.

He said the motive behind the alleged exhumations was not yet clear. “The Ministry of Education should look into the issue and if this thing is really happening, it is not right,” he said, adding all the affected pupils were likely to suffer long-term trauma due to early exposure to human remains.

He said a whistleblower had told the committee the exhumations were carried out at Magamba Heroes Acre in Rusape on Wednesday in full view of schoolchildren, causing some to pass out as a result of shock. According to the informant, each school was ordered to forward five pupils to witness the exhumations.

“We want to know what is happening, who is doing this, because exhumation might be a noble thing, but the problem is that schoolchildren should not be involved,” Chimhini said.

Education minister David Coltart described the incident as deplorable and called for urgent investigations.

“I am actually shocked to hear that and if those allegations are true, it is against government policy. No schoolchild should be subjected to such things. If it is true, it is quite shocking. Headmasters who get such invitations should channel complaints to their district or provincial offices. If they do not get joy from those offices,
then they may come directly to me,” Coltart said.

In 2011, the Fallen Heroes Trust was stopped from conducting a similar exhumation in Mount Darwin through a High Court order following an application by the Zimbabwe People’s Liberation Army (Zpra).

In its application, Zpra argued that exhumation of former freedom fighters should only be sanctioned and carried out by government.

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