Ray Bande Senior Reporter
LEARNING was aborted at Nyanyadzi High on Monday as mutinous students flocked out of classes baying for the blood of a female teacher accused of initiating some students at the school into alleged satanism.
So tense was the situation that riot police had to be summoned and used teargas canisters to deal with the riotous students. Six students were arrested for the mayhem.
The school security fence was vandalised and several students were seriously injured as they stampeded to evade the choking smoke. The injured, among them two asthmatic students, were rushed to Birchnough Bridge Hospital where they were treated and later discharged.
The Weekender gathered that troubles started when riotous students swapped roles and used logs to whip a female teacher accused being the nerve centre of satanic acts bedevilling the school.
The incident was triggered by the sudden illness of a student prompting the family consult a traditional healer who allegedly pointed an accusing finger at the teacher. The teacher was hauled before the traditional court, where the witchdoctor proceeded to her home and removed a bat that had a paper, inscribed four names of students, under its armpits. Most students attended the traditional ceremony, and left incensed, igniting Monday’s pandemonium.
The rioting students chanted revolutionary songs and barricaded the entrance to the school. They demanded to employ vigilante justice on the teacher.
Manicaland provincial education director Mr Edward Shumba confirmed the incident saying investigations were underway.
“So I heard. I haven’t received the official report but I am told that students went on to assault a teacher at the school. That is not something that we tolerate.
“There are provisions on P35 that provide guidelines on what to do. That is the kind of behaviour that we surely cannot condone as a ministry. I do not care what happened at the traditional leader’s court because whatever happened there must not interfere with the running of the school. I have even contacted the Provincial Administrator on the issue highlighting the need for the District Administrator to ensure that traditional leaders go about their business without interfering with the school,” said Mr Shumba.
Nyanyadzi police refused to comment citing protocol restrictions, although six male students were locked up in their cells. Officer commanding Chipinge police Chief Superintendent John Simon later said the locked up students were assisting with investigations.
“We came in as police just to quell the violent situation, something that we managed to do. We gathered that one of the students started assaulting a teacher using a log, accusing her of initiating them into satanism. That was the moment when other students joined in assaulting the teacher. For those that you say were in police custody, as school children they were locked up so that they can answer certain questions in line with investigations. They would be released unless there is an element of criminality of which justice will have to take its course,” said Chief Supt Simon.
The secretary of the local traditional court Freddie Dziwande said trouble started when a student related to the teacher fell ill at the school.
“It started when a student, related to her fell ill at the school. The family went to consult a traditional healer and were advised that the child was bewitched by the teacher, who is her aunt. The issue came to the headman’s court and a traditional healer was invited. The witchdoctor explained that there is something that was planted at her home.
“They went to the teacher’s home and unearthed a bat that had a paper pinned under its armpits. The paper was inscribed the names of four students at the school, said Dziwande.