via 200 pupils at risk as Bob’s aide grabs farm – New Zimbabwe 21/02/2015
SOME two hundred pupils risk being forced out of school if the takeover of Maleme Ranch in Matobo by a staffer in the president’s office is allowed to go ahead, rights groups have claimed.
Maleme Ranch, which houses Ebenezer College and Shalom Campsite, was reportedly allocated to Rodeny Mashingaidze, an official in President Robert Mugabe’s office.
The farm is owned by the Cunningham family.
Civil society organisations, faith based organisations, Matobo villagers and religious groups have protested the planned take over which has since spilled to the courts.
A religious group, Ebenezer Trust, approached the courts seeking an order to bar Mashingaidze from interfering with the activities at the farm.
On Thursday, Justice Nokuthula Moyo reserved judgement, which she’s expected to hand down within the next two weeks.
“The takeover of Maleme Ranch by an individual government officer from the Cunningham’s in the Matobo community will cause over 200 children who are dependents of the Maleme ranch workers and chicken out-growers communal farmers to lose schooling due to loss of incomes for parents and guardians,” claimed Education First, a non-governmental organisation operating in Matobo district.
A survey conducted by the organisation revealed that about 250 children who are currently going to primary and secondary school and are dependants of the Maleme Ranch farm workers will be forced out of school due to this new development.
“Once the parents and guardians of these 250 children lose employment and income now, it will be difficult even to have their children on the government BEAM and other NGOs educational schemes due to time and already evident funding constraints,” the organisation claimed.
The organisation called on relevant government officials to act and uphold the children’s right to education.
ZAPU and Matobo Development Fund have already petitioned Mugabe to stop the takeover of the farm.
“As a people’s party right from the liberation struggle, we compel the Zanu PF government to sober up and put first the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and the Matobo people in particular whose livelihoods are now in limbo because of Mashingaidze’s selfishness who apparently is politically connected.
“ZAPU will always fight for the protection of every human in Zimbabwe regardless of colour, tribe, sex or affiliation and call upon all fair minded people to support Cde Cunningham, the Matobo people and the beneficiaries of Maleme Farm,” said Mjobiso Noko, the party spokesperson.