St Marks pupils in Mapanza riot

Fourteen Pupils have been injured in a riot at St. Marks Secondary school in Mapanza Southern province, Tuesday night.

The pupils ran amok destroying property worth millions of kwacha following a difference between school girls and boys, according to Lemmy Kajoba, the police officer in charge of southern province.

The pupils were also protesting poor dinning room facilities at the school.

Kajoba said police have arrested and detained eight pupils.

He said the pupils have been charged with causing malicious damage to public property.

St Marks is a boarding school in the rural area under Chief Mapanza in Choma district.

On June 22, this year, authorities at Saint Mark’s were given a two-week ultimatum to resolve the problem of poor sanitation which was said to be threatening the lives of pupils at the learning institution.

The ultimatum was been issued by the district Joint Monitoring Team on Sanitation chaired by chief Macha.

According to a report submitted in Choma to a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)sponsored workshop on legal enforcement under the Community Led Total Sanitation programme, the action follows an inspection by a team of health experts conducted at the school Friday.

The report states that pupils at the institution answer the call of nature in the surrounding bush as the ablution block is in a pathetic state due to erratic supply of water.

The extent of open defaecation which is evident around the school premises has the potential to spread disease to both the institution and surrounding communities, the workshop heard.

The report has also revealed that raw effluent discharged from the school sewer system is flowing into the adjacent Munyeke stream thereby posing a serious danger to unsuspecting villagers consuming water from the stream.

The workshop heard that the school surroundings are in a pathetic state due to the accumulation of heaps of garbage and general neglect by the school administration.

“At the time of inspection, the school management was very uncooperative and could not take any advice to improve the school sanitation, “the report states. “The school has been given two weeks to resolve its sanitation challenges failure to which closure will be recommended in line with the provision of the law to protect human life.”

The report also raised concern at the poor state of the school dining hall which has no chairs but only old and dirty tables, forcing pupils to take their meals while standing.

And chief Macha who described the situation at Saint Marks boarding high school as unfortunate said he would next week personally visit the institution in his capacity as chairperson of the district Joint Monitoring Team on Sanitation to discuss the matter with the school administration.

He said the school may be recommended for closure if the administration fails to abide by recommendation of the health inspectors.

“I am extremely embarrassed by what is happening at the school which has a good record of academic excellence. Something has gone wrong at management level. I will go there next week to discuss with the headmaster so that we find a lasting solution,” he said.

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