ZANU-PF youth leader wanted for extortion
POLICE have been instructed to arrest ZANU-PF youth league national secretary for administration, Lewis Matutu, for extortion after he allegedly authorised party youths to forcibly take over a school in Caledonia under the pretext that it belonged to First Lady, Grace Mugabe.
The youths allegedly went on to collect school fees amounting to US$70 000 after misrepresenting that they were collecting the money on behalf of Amai Mugabe and converted it to personal use, a secretary at the school said yesterday.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, then ordered the arrest of Matutu and the youths involved.
Parents and guardians of pupils at Eastview school also gave harrowing narrations of how they were terrorised by youths acting on Matutu’s instruction.
This emerged during Kasukuwere’s fact finding mission to the slum settlement on the outskirts of Harare.
Ironically, this comes as another prominent ZANU-PF youth leader, Godwin Gomwe, is appearing at the Harare magistrates court facing similar charges.
Parents told Kasukuwere, who was accompanied by Energy and Power Development Minister, Samuel Undenge, Primary and Secondary Education Minister, Lazarus Dokora and Harare Metropolitan Provincial Affairs Minister, Miriam Chikukwa, that party youths dislodged the local committee to run the affairs of the school at the beginning of this term in May and have been collecting school fees since then.
Parents said the militant youths took advantage of the confusion at the school, which currently has two headmasters, to fleece parents.
They are accused of pocketing all the money, part of which was earmarked for construction of infrastructure.
Pupils at the school conduct lessons in dusty open shacks, with some pupils testifying that they fail to conduct lessons when it rains as they get drenched.
Armed with Matutu’s letters, the residents of Caledonia recounted to the ministers how the violent youths ransacked the school, driving away pupils that failed to pay and attacked others with stones.
They are also reported have vandalised furniture and intimidated teachers.
“The youths came here with letters written by one Lewis Matutu who works at the party (ZANU-PF) headquarters and claimed they were sent by the first lady. They claimed that she was the owner of the school and demanded that all the school fees be surrendered to them,” one parent said.
“Many parents obliged and those who resisted had their children thrown out of school. Some children were beaten and stoned,” one of the parents, Tendai Sabvure, said.
An enraged Kasukuwere immediately instructed police to go after the youths, saying anyone who abuses the name of the first lady was inviting the governing party’s anger.
“Where are the police? We want you to get all these people arrested,” he charged at some of the police details present and the event before he told the press that they everyone involved in the scum would be brought to justice.
“Those who have been behind this scum will be dealt with. The full wrath of the law will visit them,” he said.
“We are going to protect the name and image of our leadership. The first lady is not to be abused. If you abuse the first lady, you invite all of us to get involved and defend her. Those who are making money out of abusing the first lady must be warned. They must stop it.
“She has nothing to do with this chaos and you know very well how her standards are from the institutions she has built. This is definitely not what she would want to see. The first lady is not part of this corruption,” fumed Kasukuwere.
Matutu, who has also been taken to the High Court by a Zvishavane businessman, Tendai Mpofu, who is accusing him of swindling him of more than US$12 000 in a botched mining deal, was not immediately available for comment.
Dokora said his ministry would take over the school next month and quickly establish proper infrastructure.
Currently, the school has a massive enrolment of 1 496 pupils cutting across all levels from early childhood development to advanced level, all learning in shakes and attended to by just 19 teachers, only two of whom are qualified.