CONTROVERSIAL war veteran Francis Zimuto, who calls himself Black Jesus, is suing the Catholic Church-run Gokomere High School for $63 000 for turning away his Form 4 son over failure to pay fees.
Zimuto, who in 2000 walked from Masvingo to Harare to petition the British Queen through the British embassy over land distribution, has engaged the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, saying the expulsion of his son violated provisions of the Education Act.
The new Constitution prevents school heads from sending away pupils over failure to pay fees. The Education ministry also sent a circular to all provincial education directors last year advising school heads not to turn away learners with fee arrears.
In a six-page affidavit served on the Masvingo provincial education director and Gokomere headmaster only identified as Mutsambiwa, Zimuto said his son was traumatised after being turned away when the war veteran was not at home, forcing him to sleep in the open.
“On 12 May I drove my son to school with a bank slip (attached) as proof of payment of fees,” he said.
“I left Masvingo the same day to Mutare where I had a workshop thinking my son had settled, but did not know he was to be unfairly kicked out.
“He had to borrow money as a destitute from fellow students to get back home and he never found me at home and had to sleep in the open all night, while I had to travel back at night from Mutare with the house keys.”
Zimuto, who said he raised the child alone since he was Grade 4 following the death of his wife, said he believed his son was being harassed because of his status as a war veteran.
“I am beginning to think that the isolated treatment my son received is because I am a war veteran and children born of war vets are a misfit in the community and do not deserve decent education,” he said.
“Gokomere School authorities are by law obliged to conform to the laws of the land as their misconduct is tantamount to gross negligence of duty, disobedient to a lawful instruction and arrogance of the highest degree.
“I want my case concluded in the court of law to compensate my suffering and that of my son to the tune of $63 000 for trauma, embarrassment, frustration, loss of learning and study time, character assassination, security to my child, travel risks and exposure to abuse of my child.”
Zimuto said it was surprising that the school had the temerity to turn away a Form 4 student who would leave earlier in the third term after finishing exams despite paying the full fees.
The school is yet to respond to the lawsuit.