Corruption at Gutu High School

corruptionEDITOR - We are a group of teachers from Gutu High School and we are really concerned about our predicament and the predicament of our institution. Corruption, maladministration and looting of school resources has reached unprecedented levels. It is just frightening!

The once beloved Gutu High School has become like a ship that is without a compass or competent helmsman, carrying in it a demoralized crew and slowly sinking. There is an increasing decline of order at the School particularly because of poor and dishonest management of affairs by the school acting head and the S.D.C.

Of all the boarding schools in the district, it is only Gutu High School which buys a twenty litre bucket of peanut butter for US150 dollars. Renowned supermarkets in the country sell it at an average price of us 50 to 60 dollars. Why does Gutu High School buy it at such an exorbitant price? There is a simple answer to this question. It is the school head and two selected staff members who supply the commodity to the school. This selected few are his loyalists who, together with him, masquerade as dealers in the commodity, using pseudo names and addresses.

It appears the head refuses cheap tenders opting deliberately for exorbitant ones, which he would have solicited for kick backs. It is not surprising that he decided to cut ties with a mealie-meal supplier from whom he used to buy a ton at US250 dollars, opting for another supplier who charges US400 dollars per ton using a pseudo name. The same is also happening in the procurement of beef, chicken, school T/Shirts, and blazers among other things. It appears all procurements are done at prices that are highly inflated, using false names and addresses. Whilst doing all this behind the scenes, the head has adopted almost as a chorus, that, the school has no money, parents are not paying up, yet it is clearly observable that parents are paying.

The support staff and the security guards have not been paid their salaries since August, how they are surviving, only God knows. Parents had committed themselves, that teachers be given monthly incentives. That has not happened since September. The Acting head and the S.D.C. were singing their chorus more loudly that, the school has no money, parents are not paying up. The S.D.C. knows nothing about the school account, it is only the acting head who knows, even the accounts departments knows nothing of what is happening with the school account, they are just told to cook the books. Even the Solon Foundation that is pouring in funds and other resources to the school is just told cooked up reports that only the acting head knows.

What is more baffling, however, is that while singing their favourite hymn that parents are not paying up, the head and the S.D.C. are reluctant to inform the parents about the problems that are bedevilling the school. There was a prize giving ceremony, held in October, when they had a chance to address the parents. They never informed them that they are failing to pay workers their salaries and to pay teachers the incentives that the parents had promised. Instead they extended gratitude to the parents for coming up with the idea of incentives. As soon as the parents left, the head and the S.D.C. were back to their favourite hymn, parents are not paying up so we cannot give the incentives and there are no salaries for workers. In the newsletter to the parents at the end of the term the acting Head did not indicate anything about financial problems. Rather he was heaping praises to the parents that all is well. If it is true that the school is failing to pay salaries for the workers and paying incentives to the teachers, because parents are not paying fees, why is the leadership reluctant to show them the effects of their late and/or non-payment of fees? Are the books in the accounts department telling the same story as the bank statements?

It appears the head has also manipulated the S.D.C. It no longer represents the interests of the parents, but of the head who is giving them US45 dollars as sitting allowances each time they hold a meeting. The committee is slowly turning into a school destruction committee. They have since forgotten their duty to oversee the development of the school, to think about income generating projects and most importantly to guard against maladministration and abuse of school funds and resources. Instead they have been manipulated and they have become part and parcel of the corruption and maladministration that characterizes the school at the moment.

As a clear testimony that they have been manipulated, they were muscled by the school head into believing that they have got powers to transfer teachers from the school. Resultantly they are threatening teachers who request explanations about the irregularities and who are perceived to be opposing or against the school head. Right now they are boasting that they are going to have about five teachers transferred from the school because they are not loyal to the school head.

As if that is not enough, the acting Head is playing the divide and rule tactic amongst the staff. He has hand-picked a few teachers whom he gives an extra-incentives of US100 dollars each per month for the simple reason that they are perceived to be loyal to the acting head; when at the same time the song that there is no money in the school account goes on. These same hand picked teachers are the ones who are supplying provisions to the school at highly inflated prices.

We believe that the R.C.Z authorities know of the resource looting at Gutu High School but they seem not to care or they are simply casting a blind eye. They seem to be paralysed or it seems they are afraid of the Acting Head. We have observed that the acting head has kick-backs links with Rev. Station Superintendent and the R.C.Z Education Secretary at the Central Office in Masvingo. At the same time we have noticed that the Acting Head has some links with some high profile Zanu (PF) members in Gutu. If we are wrong let the relevant authorities from the R.C.Z Central Office in Masvingo come, investigate and prove it. We are ready to face the consequences. CONCERNED TEACHERS, Gutu

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