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Barefooted pupil saga: Head reneges on promise


Takunda Maodza Assistant News Editor
MWEYAMUTSVENE Mission headmaster Mr Zebron Rubende, whose wife barred a barefooted pupil from writing his Ordinary Level examinations last November, has reneged on his promise to compensate the boy by footing his school fees and other related expenses this year.

Belvin Chibi, an orphan from the poverty stricken Bocha in Manicaland, was chucked out of an examination room by Mrs Nyasha Rubende because his grandmother had failed to buy him school shoes.

The incident attracted national condemnation forcing Mr Rubende to sign an agreement with the Chibi family to pay for the boy’s fees this year.

In the agreement in possession of The Herald, Mr Rubende — who initially tried to cover up for his wife — promised to meet all the education related expenses for Belvin if he repeated Form Four. Instead of fulfilling the promise, Mr Rubende has been vindictive to the Chibi family.

The family found a place for Belvin at Mt Pleasant High School in Harare after a relative offered to stay with him.

“The social welfare offered to pay part of the school fees ($155). Mr Rubende is supposed to top up $125 to make it $305 a term. He is refusing to pay any amount and is now distancing himself from the whole issue,” said a close family member.

Belvin was supposed to have started school yesterday but failed. The Herald understands that the school offered him a place after considering his unique case.

The Chibi family is now in the process of suing Mr Rubende.

“We are in the process of engaging lawyers so that we sue him, or to see how best the matter can be handled.”

Teachers at Mweyamutsvene Mission School told The Herald that Mr Rubende was now victimising anyone he suspects of having leaked the Belvin issue to this newspaper.

“He is hiding behind over-staffing in a bid to get rid of some teachers he suspects raised alarm over the Belvin issue. This week he asked three teachers to leave the school. He just came up with a list without consulting anyone,” said a source at the Catholic run school.

It is understood that Mr Rubende wanted Belvin to repeat at Mweyamutsvene Mission but relatives felt the environment was no longer conducive for him.

Mweyamutsvene Mission is a boarding school located in the poverty stricken Bocha. They took the boy to a school in Harare hoping Mr Rubende would fulfil his promise.

Reads the agreement Mr Rubende entered with the Chibi Family in November last year: “The school shall assist Belvin Chibi, Form Four, in 2016 in the following — pay for his examination fees for five subjects, pay for his tuition fees for three terms and pay for his boarding fees if enrolled with the school.”

Government dispatched a team to Mweyamutsvene Mission last year to investigate the matter.

Manicaland Provincial education director Mr Edward Shumba told The Herald the matter was now before the Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Sylvia Utete Masango.

Efforts to get a comment from Dr Utete Masango were fruitless yesterday. Mr Rubende would not give a satisfactory response when contacted by The Herald yesterday. Initially, he denied ever talking to Belvin’s family.


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