Tensions reached a boiling point at St Faith’s High School in Manicaland on Wednesday as a dispute over the enforcement of a US$600 mission fund erupted into chaos. The Anglican Diocese of Manicaland, which oversees the school, had hired armed security guards to block entry to the school premises until the payment was made, leading to a confrontation with enraged parents and community members.
Videos capturing the tumultuous scenes quickly went viral on social media, showing a clergy member, identified as Mavhezha, engaging in physical altercations with protestors. The situation escalated when Mavhezha allegedly assaulted a village head, prompting intervention from the agitated crowd. Despite being restrained by bystanders, Mavhezha reportedly continued to threaten and physically harm protestors, including a physically challenged man.
Authorities, including the Manicaland Provincial Police, confirmed the incident and stated that investigations are ongoing. The clash underscores a longstanding dispute between the school’s stakeholders and the Anglican Diocese over the imposition of the mission fund, which has been vehemently opposed since its introduction in 2021.
The Anglican Diocese of Manicaland has remained steadfast in its insistence on monetizing access to its top-performing mission schools, including St Faith’s High School. However, stakeholders, including government officials and members of the local community, argue that the imposition of such a hefty fee exacerbates social inequality and unfairly targets less affluent families.
This latest altercation follows a similar incident last month, during which the school faced overcrowding issues due to parallel enrollment exercises conducted by the diocese. Despite a pending High Court application challenging the legitimacy of the mission fund, tensions continue to escalate as parents and community members demand accountability and transparency from the diocese.
In response to inquiries, Manicaland Provincial Education Director, Mr. Edward Shumba, assured that normalcy has been restored at the school following police intervention. However, concerns persist regarding the long-term implications of the ongoing dispute on the welfare and educational opportunities of students at St Faith’s High School.
Efforts to reach representatives from the Anglican Diocese of Manicaland for comment were unsuccessful at the time of reporting. Meanwhile, community members, such as Mr. Chad Ruwende, continue to voice their opposition to what they perceive as greed and profiteering within the church hierarchy.
As the standoff at St Faith’s High School continues, the broader implications of the mission fund dispute on access to education and social justice remain at the forefront of public discourse, highlighting the need for a swift and equitable resolution to the ongoing crisis.- state media