School authorities flinch at litigation and release “O” level exam results withheld over school protest

AUTHORITIES at Gokomere High School have thrown in the towel by agreeing to release Ordinary Level examination results for 23 juveniles, which they had been withholding in a desperate bid to induce them to pay US$25 each for damage purportedly caused to the school property during a protest at the institution.

The authorities had withheld Ordinary Level examination results for 23
former Gokomere High School students from early April when Zimbabwe
Schools Examination Council released them on the basis that the
juveniles have a criminal case pending at Masvingo Magistrates Court
and that each of them must pay US$25 for damage purportedly caused to
the school property during a protest allegedly staged in November 2021
against maladministration.

The juveniles, who completed their Ordinary Level studies early this
year, are currently on trial before Masvingo Magistrate Farai Gwitima
answering to charges of committing public violence as defined in
Section 36(1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
Prosecutors claim that they protested against unsuitable learning
conditions and sang some songs denouncing authorities at Gokomere High
School alleging that they were selectively applying some disciplinary
regulations on students.

The withholding of the examination results compelled the juveniles’
lawyer, Martin Mureri of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, to write a
letter to Gokomere High School Headmaster Acquanos Mazhunga protesting
against the school authorities’ actions.

In his letter, Mureri argued that the students who were not indebted
to Gokomere High School and some who wanted to proceed to enrol for
Advanced Level studies were being prejudiced by the withholding of
their examination results.

The human rights lawyer reminded Mazhunga that if the school
authorities had issues regarding any outstanding payments owed by the
students, they should approach their parents or guardians.

Mureri had given Mazhunga 48 hours to release the withheld examination
results, failure of which he would institute legal proceedings against
Gokomere High School.

In response to Mureri’s letter and within 24 hours, Mazhunga responded
by telling the human rights lawyer to advise the juveniles to visit
Gokomere High School and “collect their results without causing
unnecessary unrest”.

As rightly advised by Mureri, Mazhunga said he would engage the
students’ parents and guardians for payment of US$25 each for the
purported damage to the school property.

In 2018, Justice Nicholas Mathonsi, who served as a High Court Judge
at the time, declared as unconstitutional the practice by school
authorities of withholding examination results for students as a way
to induce payment of outstanding school fees. Justice Mathonsi ruled
that the refusal by school authorities to release Ordinary Level
examination results of students over non-payment of school fees is
unlawful and unconstitutional as it infringes on the student’s
constitutional rights enshrined in section 75 and 81 of the

Post published in: Featured

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *