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Two former students of Mbizo High School in Kwekwe, who were accused of exam cheating during the November 2013 Ordinary Level examinations, have taken the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) to court for withholding their results.

Mary Tichavavamwe and Simeone Mukarati, both aged 20, have filed an application at the Bulawayo High Court seeking an order to compel Zimsec to release their results following their acquittal by a Kwekwe magistrates’ court.

According to the court papers filed last week, Zimsec director Mr Esau Nhandara, the examination body and Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora are cited as respondents.

Tichavavamwe and Mukarati are accusing Zimsec of violating their rights to education by withholding their results despite having been acquitted of charges of contravening a section of the Zimsec Act. The two appeared before a Kwekwe magistrate on charges of allegedly entering the examination room hiding notes for a science subject during the November 2013 examinations.

The court found them not guilty and subsequently acquitted them in April last year.

“After we were acquitted of the charges of contravening a section of the Zimsec Act, we went to Zimsec provincial centre in Gweru intending to collect our results. We were aised by officials that we could not get the results despite having been acquitted. They argued that Zimsec was not bound by the decisions of the criminal court,” said Tichavavamwe in her founding affidavit.

“The withholding of my results in light of my acquittal is unconstitutional as the Constitution of Zimbabwe clearly states that every citizen has a right to education. The withholding of my results is therefore an act of denying me the very same right guaranteed in the supreme law of the country,” she said.

“In the circumstances it will be a whole year wasted as I do not know whether I passed or not. I wanted to proceed to A-Level or alternatively rewrite in the event that I failed, but now I am being held at ransom by Zimsec. This is grossly unfair and an infringement to my basic rights as a citizen of Zimbabwe,” she said.

Mukarati in his founding affidavit said his plans to proceed with his studies were shrouded in uncertainty following the decision by Zimsec to withhold his results.

“I am traumatised and right now my future plans are in limbo because of Zimsec’s refusal to avail my results. I was acquitted of the framed charges and there is no reason for Zimsec to continue denying me my educational right by refusing to release my results. I need to move on with my life but I can only do that if Zimsec is compelled to release my results forthwith,” he said.

Mr Lewis Ziro of Garikai and Company, the two applicants’ lawyer, said Zimsec’s refusal to release the results was a violation of Section 4 of the Education Act, which states that all children have a fundamental right to education.Bulawayo Bureau

“This right is protected in terms of Sections 27 and 75 of the Constitution which stipulate that every citizen has a right to basic education.

“However, such a right can only be limited only in exceptional circumstances and in the case of the applicants there is no basis for limiting that right to education since they were both cleared of any wrongdoing by a competent court of law. They are therefore entitled to their academic results,” said Mr Ziro.

The hearing of the matter has been set for March 12.

Source : The Herald