Top airforce boss grabs school

HARARE - Air Vice Marshal Sheba Shumbayaonda has been dragged to court for booting out learners at Living Rock High School.

Kennedy Gonzo, the School Development Committee chairperson, filed an affidavit on behalf of the school, which is adjacent to Air Commodore Shumbayaonda’s premises located at  Plot number 5 Machere Farm in Mvurwi.

Gonzo told the court that the school has been operating at Plot number 6 since January last year and has an enrolment of 95 students. The school had converted buildings on the premises into offices and classrooms.

In August last year, after schools closed for holidays, the institution locked its chairs, tables and boards in one of the rooms for safekeeping.

“Respondent (Shumbayaonda) unlawfully entered into the applicant (Living Rock High School)’s premises and welded the offices or rooms’ doors and put burglar bars, screen gates on all the doors and fenced the area with steel rods, interfering with the land boundaries and alleged that the building or rooms belonged to him.

“The respondent unprocedurally and unlawfully dispossessed and denied applicant access to its buildings and school property without applicant’s consent,” the court heard.

The school reported the matter to the police but was not given any meaningful assistance. Shumbayaonda allegedly refused to comply with the demands to vacate the premises. The police subsequently advised the school to approach the courts.

The school is now seeking an order to be allowed back to the premises.

“The respondent had no court order entitling him to take possession of the applicant’s property of buildings. He took the law into his own hands,” Gonzo said in court papers.

The school stands to suffer irreparable harm through Shumbayaonda’s actions, considering that the students do not have furniture to use at the moment, he told the court.

“The respondent had no legal right to resort to self-help and take possession of the building and school properties.

“If the respondent has a dispute with the land owners, he should approach the court and have his day in court rather than disturbing the children’s education by practically locking them out of education, which is key to their brighter future,” Gonzo said.

The school has been allowed to collect its remaining assets from the buildings in question in the presence of the police.

“The issue of access to the buildings in dispute shall be determined by the relevant authorities at the instance of the aggrieved party within a period of two months from the granting of this order,” reads part of the deed of settlement.

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