A 39-year-old private school teacher in Harare, seen in a circulating video allegedly attacking a pupil with a belt, has been arrested.
Michael Freeman Chingwaru (39) was by last night still assisting police with investigations and was expected to appear in court soon.
In the video, Chingwaru could be seen apparently hitting the boy with a belt, open hands and ordering him to sit down.
Desks and chairs were scattered all over the classroom while other pupils watched helplessly.
Chingwaru head-butted the pupil as if he was fighting an adult.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday confirmed the arrest of Chingwaru, a mathematics teacher at Harare Einstein Tuition Centre, on charges of assaulting a pupil aged 18 on Thursday at around 10:30am.
“The Lower Sixth student was found in the O Level class seeing some movies during lesson time and ordered to go to his class. Instead, he went to a biology classroom and coincidentally met the same teacher where a harsh exchange of words occurred, resulting in the teacher assaulting the complainant. School authorities are urged to ensure that peace prevails in learning institutions at all times,” he said.
Video footage of the brutal attack sparked outrage, with many people using social media urging the authorities to punish the teacher.
There were conflicting accounts on what triggered the assault, with some claiming that the pupil had been found being intimate with a girl, who is said to be the teacher’s daughter.
“The boy was being intimate in class with a 14-year-old girl. The teacher overreacted and is now going to jail and the girl is said to be the teacher’s daughter,” said one social media commentator.
Claims on the alleged sexual act could however, not be independently verified last night.
“Personally, I’m inclined towards social control. Vana ngavapangike (Children should be disciplined),” said another commentator.
A parent who condoned the assault said: “The teacher has been arrested, but one day when the child becomes wild, the parents will complain that teachers were not enforcing discipline.
“Most of us became morally upright because of corporal punishment. If children are not beaten up, they become thugs who could even kill.”
This is not the first time Chingwaru has allegedly beaten up people. Recently, another video was circulating showing him allegedly assaulting Zesa Holdings officials in the city while holding a hoe and shouting obscene language.
In 2019, the Constitutional Court outlawed judicial corporal punishment, saying it amounts to inhuman and degrading punish- ment. Chief Justice Luke Malaba, sitting with eight other judges, ruled that such inhuman treatment had no place in a democratic society.
The court struck down Section 353 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, which provides for the caning of juvenile offenders, saying it was in conflict with Section 53 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.