Harare City Council under fire for parceling out school land

By Wellington Makonese

RESIDENTS of Mbare have voiced concern over the continued parceling of land to churches on a space which was reserved for expansion of Harare High School.

The MDC-led Harare City Council is being accused of dishing out land to a church at the expense of Harare High School’s expansion project, which was meant to accommodate more students from the area.

So sad is the situation that the school had to dismantle some sporting structures to construct more classrooms.

“As residents we are concerned with this development, more and more churches are being given land here. If you look at it, it’s those churches that have cash (prophets) that are given space despite that the school has sort to expand over and over again,” a resident said.

Another noted: “It’s now unfortunate that our children are now going to different locations to school, which puts them at risk of traffic accidents, imagine there was a tennis court which was dismantled to accommodate a classroom.”

“Council should realise that churches can be re-allocated space elsewhere but the school is a permanent feature for years and we cannot have subdivisions, our children should be the priority,” said another.

What has irked the residents more is the fact that the school was forced to re-apply for land yet the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works once approved the expansion in 2017.

Arthur Muromba, a Mbare Residents representative, said: “We are deeply worried because the council is doing its works without public consultation and proper council procedure, our appeal is for government to intervene and reverse the anomaly which does not prioritize the future of our children.”

Efforts to get a comment from the Harare City Council spokesperson were fruitless.

Harare High is the only school offering A-level education in the ward, with a student population of 2400.

The teacher to pupil ratio stands at 1:50, hence the need to expand so as to depopulate classes.