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Court reverses police boss directive

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The High Court has reversed a directive by police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga to close Support Unit Independent College on January 2 this year without prior notice, leaving about 200 pupils stranded.

BY CHARLES LAITON

Matanga closed the college early this month to pave way for the regularisation of the learning institution.

However, High Court judge Justice Amie Tsanga ordered the school to continue operating as regularisation processes simultaneously take place.

“The suspension of the operation of ZRP Support Unit College be and is hereby uplifted forthwith. The school shall reopen for one calendar term being January to April 2020 which period shall serve as notice to all parents, pupils and school authorities to regularise the school’s shortcomings, failure which it shall be closed at the expiry of this period,” Justice Tsanga ruled, ordering Matanga and his co-defendants to pay costs of the suit.
The institution, which was registered with the Primary and Secondary Education ministry a decade ago, but was yet to be formally regularised, mainly served children of junior police officers.

“Whatever the reasons the first respondent (Matanga) had in mind to order the closure of the college, the decision to do so should have been communicated within a reasonable time to afford me (one of the parents) together with other parents enough time to run around and find alternative schools for our children. In the circumstances, it is inconceivable to believe that a notice of less than two weeks is reasonable in this case,” he said.

“Considering that this is a school with more than 200 school children, the first respondent should have considered the serious adverse consequences to be faced by us … to find another school within a period of less than two weeks.”

The parents had submitted that on the closing date or any other date soon thereafter, there was no parents meeting or notification received from any of the police bosses that the college was going to cease its operations at the beginning of January 2020 and would not be opening for the first term.

“In fact, I together with other parents of the students at the college had a legitimate expectation that the college was going to operate throughout the 2020 since the first respondent had already approved the regularisation of the operation of the college. That being the case, we spent the whole school holidays mobilising funds to pay for our children for the first term of 2020. We never made any effort to find alternative schools for our children since the college was operating very well to the satisfaction of most parents and the pupils,” the disgruntled parent said in their High Court application.

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