Chivi RDC, villagers clash over school levies

BY Garikai Mafirakureva

Chivi residents are at crossroads with their local authority over what they termed unfair building levies charged by the council-run Madyangove Primary School.

Chivi Rural District Council (RDC) recently levied $21 per child to fund the construction of the new school, which has an enrolment of 1 700 pupils.

Parents and residents are arguing that council should use money from its coffers to fund the project, instead of levying one school to build another in a different location.

“We know that $21 is no longer valuable because of the runaway inflation we are currently experiencing, but we are saying council should learn to fund its projects from its own pocket. It should not burden parents during these trying times, considering that Chivi is the hardest hit area by the ravaging drought,” Johnson Zuvarimwe, a Chivi resident, said.

“This is not the right time to start any project, let alone building a school. It is unfortunate that we no longer have a viable residents association here in Chivi. It would have defended us from the abuse we are currently enduring from council. There is lack of checks and balances and that is why our council is taking us for a ride.”

Tadios Matseketu, a parent whose child recently set for Grade 7 examinations at the school, said he was failing to understand why the school would want a building levy from someone who is leaving the school.

“If they had demanded their building levy at the beginning of the year we would have not complained, but demanding it a week before the Grade 7 pupils write their exams is unacceptable. It will be armtwisting us into submission,” Matseketu said.

Chivi RDC chief executive officer Tariro Matavire, defended the construction of the school saying it would help ease congestion at the only primary school at the growth point.
“We just want to decongest the only school we have. We are going to name it Madyangove B, although the schools will be some distance apart. So we have no choice, but to collect the levy from the existing school,” Matavire said.

“If parents have problems with it they can write a letter to council as a team airing their grievances. This issue has, however, been finalised and others have already agreed to the levy.”