Anger erupted at St Faith’s Secondary School on Wednesday, as a priest from the Anglican Diocese of Manicaland showed off his boxing skills, while parents accompanying fifth-graders bulldozed their way into the school after the church hired armed security guards to barricade the entrance to enforce payment from the mission fund of 600 USD.

Videos of the acrimony have spread on social media, in which an angry cleric in a blue-collar shirt known as Mavija assaulted village chief Fungai Changadzo, prompting disturbed parents to intervene.

The clerics then randomly pushed those who were advancing towards him, threatening to “kill someone.”

He was restrained by three men, but continued to punch a physically disabled man who was walking with the help of clutches. The man fell to the ground.

This enraged the people who manhandled him, and the clergy’s clothes were torn during the clash.

Acting Manicaland Provincial Police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Wiseman Chinyoka, confirmed the incident and said investigations were ongoing.

Although the school’s stakeholders, including the government, oppose paying the mission fund, the church does not give in to its demands, creating fertile ground for chaos every time the school recruits models Ones and Fives.

The diocese insists on monetizing access to the best performing mission schools – St Faith’s Secondary School, St David’s Bunda Girls’ Secondary School, St Augustine’s Secondary School and St Matthias Tsonzo.

Stakeholders at St Faith’s High School have strongly resisted the move since it was introduced in 2021.

The school hogged the limelight for the wrong reasons last month when schools opened for the first semester after the number of students in the form surged after the responsible authority, the Anglican Diocese of Manicaland, conducted a parallel registration exercise out of a desire to raise the mission fund.

The school is not enforcing the fund payment, citing a pending High Court application to challenge it.

This allegedly forced the diocese to conduct a parallel enrollment exercise as it was raising money ($600) which caused enrollment numbers to skyrocket, increasing everything in the school – dormitories, classrooms, utensils, furniture, food and teaching staff. – Beyond borders.

As in the first incident, on Wednesday, officials from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education had to call in the police to ensure the rule of law, as some parents and community members became concerned and confronted security guards – under the supervision of Maviza.

Manicaland Provincial Education Director (PED), Mr Edward Shumba yesterday (Thursday) confirmed the disturbances and said the situation had returned to normal following police intervention.

“What I know at the moment is that all the learners, in the lower sixth form, are now affiliated with the school. Yes, we had an issue where some people thought they would prevent those who had not paid the mission money from entering the school building, but we enforced the law. The police were called to make sure Students entering school. As we speak, teaching and learning are taking place normally at school.

Diocesan spokesman and registrar, Mr Achill Mutungura, said he was in a meeting when he was contacted for comment.

“I’m in a meeting and I’ll get back to you when I’m done,” he said.

A member of the church, Mr. Chad Rwende, accused the diocese of greed, adding that charging such an exorbitant amount would negatively impact the less fortunate and promote social exclusion because the choice would only be among relatively wealthy members of the community.

He insisted that the privatization of Anglican schools in the province was being used as a substitute for self-aggrandizement and profiteering by a powerful clique in the church.

“They hired seven security guards with two dogs and sticks. They put them at the main gate to check those who had paid the mission money and turn away those who had not. The school enrolled around 90 learners from the lower fifth standard, of whom only 10 paid the mission fund despite a pending High Court application challenging it .

“Those who did not pay were denied entry and parked their cars outside the gate waiting for other parents to arrive. The parents demanded proof of the mission fund’s approval, but the responsible authority was unable to provide anything. The parents chanted slogans denouncing the mission fund.

“What upset them most was that they were charging returning learners US$600. The parents insisted that they would pay the approved fees. Community members joined the fight and cooperated with them to make their way to the school. The guards tried to stop them, but they were overpowered. “This is how it was done,” he said. Moving children to dormitories.” Manica Post

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