War veteran jailed for brutalising 116 pupils

HARARE - A War veteran from Mashonaland Central Province who went berserk late last year and savagely assaulted 116 pupils at a local primary school for alleged indiscipline has been jailed.

Solomon Samu was handed a three-year sentence by magistrate Tendai Muchena who suspended one-year and left him to serve an effective two years behind bars. It was the State’s case that Samu, who hails from Kanyemba Village under Chief Dotito in Mount Darwin, confronted the school’s deputy headmaster, Paddington Musake, in October last year demanding the “right” to beat up all the children at the school because they had “ill-discipline”.

As Samu made the bizarre demand, a fearful Musake felt powerless to stop him, as the seemingly deranged war veteran moved quickly to beat the learners, beginning with Grade Seven pupils who were about to write their final exams.

In passing judgment Muchena said the former freedom fighter had acted unlawfully in violating children’s rights hence he deserved a deterrent punishment. “The accused had the intention to harm all the children at the school and it is hard to imagine a country where an individual approaches a school from nowhere and demand the right to assault children,” Muchena said.

In mitigation, Samu through his lawyer Elaton Bonongwe pleaded for leniency saying he was old and had two school-going children who still needed to be taken care of. Samu also argued that he had been severely affected by the war and had not been treated for the trauma he suffered.

He also said he was suffering from a backache resulting from fragments of a grenade that hit him during the war. But Muchena pointed out that it was difficult to believe that nearly 40 years after the war, Samu was still suffering from the war effects that he did not know the effects of having to assault a whole school.

According to the State’s case after beating the Grade Seven pupils in the full view of their stunned teachers, Samu allegedly called on the Grade six and five learners, whereupon he meted on them the same punishment. He only stopped the beatings when Musake and the other teachers eventually gathered the courage to threaten to call police to deal with him.

Despite the incident happening in October last year, and school authorities immediately filing a formal complaint with police against the war veteran, he was only arrested last week after the intervention of parents and the Social Welfare department.

    Comments (6)

    But how does someone beat 116 school children??? After beating all the grade 6 and 7 pupils, the teachers finally gained courage to threaten him with calling police???? Unbelivable.. the Headmaster and teachers need that beating.. Zvakaoma sure

    Gushungo - 6 March 2019

    ndozvazvinoita munyika mukawanza chi cde nhingi cde nhingi... we now need liberation from the war veterans.

    grace and truth - 6 March 2019

    As if they fought the war without assistance from villagers. Iko zvino vakwaara nekuputa bute because they used to kill innocent people

    yohwe - 6 March 2019

    @ Gushungo, you raise a very good question! The Deputy Head or whoever was the most senior among the school staff at the time of the incident should actually be fired! I mean, they watched when somebody committed a crime in broad daylight. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has a policy against canning learners and the school authorities by allowing this crazy so-called Cde to beat the children, indirectly also beat up the children themselves! This is the highest form of uncivilised behaviour by adults. I remember when I was a School Head in UMP - the local Zanu Pf leadership threatened to come and beat up teachers at our school, and I did the right thing by simply reporting the threat to the police. The police reacted swiftly and took me back to the school at the time when the beatings were supposed to commence, and we indeed found some War Veterans and youth leaders already at the school armed with sticks. They were asked what they were doing at the school armed with sticks, and they said they had come to address the teachers. The police further asked as to why these would want to address teachers while armed with sticks, and without the School Head's knowledge, and there was a deafening silence. The police told the group that they would be arrested if they did anything outside the law. For me, it was a great test for my leadership for courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to do the right thing even in the presence of fear! The school authorities in this Dotito School case have a case to answer!

    Mhofu Chaiyo - 7 March 2019

    The magistrate should have castigated the police for taking so long to arrest the warvet after a report was made.

    Sinyo - 7 March 2019

    This is what l call madness at it's highest point, this war veteran niger must be locked up and the keys be thrown away. What a shame and a disgrace.

    Petros Gwafa - 12 March 2019

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