THE 14 school heads from Chikomba District in Mashonaland East province, who were suspended without pay a year ago after being implicated in financial mismanagement, are reportedly wallowing in poverty, as they await disciplinary hearings.
By Jairos Saunyama
The school heads (names supplied) were all suspended during the first term of last year for various offences, ranging from flouting procurement procedures and misappropriation of funds.
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) Mashonaland East chapter chairperson, Tapiwa Chengeta confirmed the issue and said they had since engaged their lawyers to assist the affected educators.
“Accounting audits were done at their schools during the first term and the district schools inspector (DSI) went on to suspend them without salaries and without looking at the gravity and differences of their cases. After the three-month suspension orders, the 14 headmasters were ordered to come back to work while some of them were demoted to teachers awaiting disciplinary hearings,” he
“Since then, the DSI has failed to conduct hearings for them in what we describe as a serious violation of the Statutory Instrument 1 of 2000. These school heads were supposed to appear before disciplinary hearings within three months and nothing has happened. This delay has reduced the headmasters to beggars at their respective schools.”
Chengeta said they had since represented four of the school heads, who have resumed duties without salaries.
“We have since offered legal representation to four of the affected school heads and they are now back at work. Eight of them are still waiting for disciplinary hearings that could have been done within three months of the suspensions. But they are yet to get their salaries and it is disturbing. In this new dispensation, we wish things to change,” he said.
Chikomba DSI Emmanuel Kwenda confirmed the disciplinary hearings.
“All those issues were resolved. I do not have much information because I am not in the office these days, but I am sure that the issue was totally resolved,” he said.
Kwenda said that since the issue was resolved, it means the school heads’ salaries were being paid as per procedure.