Deputy Head convicted for pupil assault

Victoria Vambe

A deputy head at Nyamandlovu Primary School was found guilty of committing a “serious breach of trust” when she brutally assaulted a Grade Seven Pupil several times on the head with a mopane switch as punishment for making noise.

Victoria Vambe (52) was arrested after the 12-year-old pupil’s father learnt of the horrendous crime and notified the police. 

This was after the boy, who sustained bruises on the scalp and swollen eyes, also developed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the assault.

Vambe, who pleaded not guilty was, however, convicted and sentenced after a full trial by Bulawayo magistrate Adelaide Mbeure. She, however, heaved a huge sigh of relief when the magistrate sentenced her to pay a fine of $200 (or two weeks in prison).

In addition she was also sentenced to four months imprisonment, which was wholly suspended for five years on condition that she does not within that period commit a similar offence for which upon conviction she is sentenced to a term of imprisonment without the option of a fine.  In coming up with the sentence the court took into consideration the fact that she was a first offender and also a breadwinner.

“It is the duty of the court to rehabilitate such first time offenders because giving such persons custodial sentences turns them into hardened criminals. The accused is a deputy head and has been working for 29 years in the ministry (Primary and Secondary Education) and a conviction will ruin her career,” reads the ruling in part.

Meanwhile, justice was done following investigations by this publication that there was evidence of plans, by the parties who were involved in handling the matter, to sweep it under the carpet despite the fact there was a medical report showing that the pupil suffered severe injuries as a result of the attack.

This was also after Matabeleland North deputy director responsible for primary education, Mrs Beatrice Manjere said investigations by the District Schools Inspector (DSI) revealed that the incident never happened.

The court proved that on 25 February this year and at around 10.30 am the boy and other pupils were at assembly point when Vambe came and accused them of making noise. It was established that one of the pupils singled out the boy saying he was the one who was making noise before the deputy head started assaulting him on the head and towards the forehead with a mopane switch.

The court heard that in the process Vambe was saying “hamba uyeceba lapho oceba khona” meaning go and report where you usually report.

It is reported that Vambe repeatedly assaulted the boy who vainly pleaded for mercy saying he was not the one who was making noise.

After the brutal attack, the boy suffered a severe headache and later informed his parents who reported the matter to the police leading to Vambe’s arrest.

His parents then took him to Mpilo Hospital for treatment where the injuries were described as “very serious”.

During trial the boy said the deputy head assaulted him after a fellow pupil misrepresented to her that he was the one who was making noise.  

He said the accused assaulted her several times on the head using a mopane switch saying he should go and report where he usually reports.

His evidence was also corroborated by that of his father who said on the day in question he was also at the school attending a meeting when he saw the deputy head assaulting the boy, unbeknown to him that it was his child who was being beaten.

“I was about 30-35 metres from where the assault took place. I didn’t know that it was my son who was being whipped at the assembly point. I only discovered it when he came back home from school and narrated the incident to me. 

“This was not the first time that my child has been subjected to physical abuse at the school. He was once assaulted in 2016 and I reported the matter to the district education offices. From that time his life at the school has been hell as the teachers would not teach him,” the father charged. 

However, in defence, Vambe refuted the allegations saying the boy’s father had a vendetta against her as she didn’t take up his complaint in 2016 leaving him to approach her superiors.