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The recent incident at Roma Girls Secondary School in which an irate teacher Daswell Sichilongo attacked and beat up the acting Head Teacher Emma Chakupaleza over a house rental dispute is completely horrifying, unacceptable and unjustifiable. This appalling incident, captured on video by a MUVI TV news team, has no place in a Christian nation of civilized people.
Regardless of whatever perceived mistake or alleged heartlessness Ms Chakupaleza may have exhibited, this type of behavior is totally unacceptable and cannot be justified under any circumstance. Mr Sichilongo’s act deserves condemnation in the strongest possible terms by every well-meaning Zambian.
The Education system is supposed to be the bedrock of character formation in any country. Second only to the environment that is created by parents at home, the School environment is absolutely critical in imbuing the right values for which a nation and society can prosper. Teachers are entrusted with the noble task of imparting the right values to the nation’s citizens and they must discharge this great responsibility by leading exemplary sober lives.
It is surprising that after several days, there has been no strong condemnation from the Women’s Lobby, the Church mother bodies, and the Public Service Union. This single act has negative consequent repercussions to the long term psyche of a nation. These are matters for which Civil Society should be showing collective concern outside the ordinary political issues which appear to be a focal point position.
I am aware that public opinion is divided on this matter, but on matters of principle, leaders are supposed to uphold what is right in the face of mass disapproval. To add insult to injury, the teacher shows no degree of remorse and when a date for a hearing is being set, the accused has the audacity to indicate that he will be too busy teaching on those dates and hence a particular date of hearing should not be scheduled.
Clearly, in the mind of this man, his actions should not result in any form of disciplinary measures and he should go right back in to the class room as if nothing happened. This is unacceptable in a civilized society which wishes to build good character in its students, political activists and citizens in general. In other jurisdictions, such behavior would have resulted in immediate suspension or expulsion from the teaching service.
There is video evidence of his dastardly act on the Internet which can be the basis of disciplinary action by the Teaching Service Commission. Mr Sichilongo should be immediately suspended from teaching, pending a thorough investigation.
Left unattended, this case can plant the seeds for anarchy and bad behaviour in young people in our communities. It sends a wrong message that violence is acceptable and makes efforts to fight Gender Based Violence (GBV) less effective. Charity begins both at home and in our schools.
MMD National Secretary