New Era Newspaper

New Era Epaper
Icon Collap
Home / Satotwa principal allegedly rules with iron fist

Satotwa principal allegedly rules with iron fist

2023-09-11  John Muyamba

Satotwa principal allegedly rules with iron fist

RUNDU - A school headmaster at the Satotwa Junior primary school in Kavango West’s Katjinakatji education circuit stands accused of ruling the school through fear. 

Sadrag Ihemba is on ‘special leave’, together with another teacher, over allegations of abusing learners. 

Recently, over 140 learners boycotted the school as their way of petitioning the alleged abuse. 

Ihemba is said to have perennial conflict with his learners’ parents due to his alleged continuous abusive and arrogant behaviour.

When contacted for comment, he denied any wrongdoing, saying the issue with the parents started when he, along with four teachers, opened a case against village development committee (VDC) member Lukas Mutorwa, who allegedly insulted them at the school on 26 July. 

He further recalled that the problem with Mutorwa started when he rejected him from being part of the school board some years back.

Mutorwa’s rejection was premised on the fact that he did not have a child at the school, as required. “He came to pass by near our houses at the school, and started insulting us. As he was insulting, we gathered and listened to what he was saying, and we identified him. The next morning, as staff members, we regrouped and asked ourselves what we should do. We agreed to go and talk to his father to inform him about what transpired, and the father assured us that he would go and talk to him and come back to us. But he never did,” Ihemba elucidated.

“We went to Mururani to open a case on 7 August since the family couldn’t come back to us regarding the insults, and we gave our statements,’’ he said.

Ihemba added that from the time they were insulted, learners attended school. But after they opened the case against the VDC member, the children were mobilised to stay home by the committee members, who allegedly influenced the parents in the community.

“On 12 August, the police came to get him for questioning. After he came back on Sunday, 13 August, he started to mobilise learners not to go to school, and from Monday, 14 August to Friday, 18 August, our learners didn’t go to school,’’ he added. 

“How do we mistreat children if we built them a community hostel, and provided them with food for the past seven years whilst using our resources as teachers? We do everything for these learners; we fenced off a hostel area, and built makeshift structures where they live to accommodate those who walk long distances,” Ihemba stated. 

He does not understand why the community is turning against them now that the hostel and school are being upgraded to a permanent structure after they worked hard to get the school recognized, and wrote proposals to be donated with modern infrastructure by the Chinese government that will soon complete construction.

Through their hard work, Ihemba added, they managed to get sponsors through the government to build a permanent hostel.

“When education officials came to our school a week ago, they went to see some parents who said they want the principal and teacher Klemens Mpande [accused of abusing learners] to leave the school before they send their children back to class,’’ he noted. Ihemba said from the look of things, the community wants to get rid of them after they have done so much for the school. 

“If there were issues of us mistreating learners, why was it never raised before the case of the VCD member who insulted us? I also know that there is a politician behind the whole thing, who wants me and my teachers gone because of the completion of the hostel. They have their plans, and they may feel it will not work out if I’m around,” he observed.

Efforts to get hold of Mutorwa were futile as he was unreachable on his phone. 

In 2018, Ihemba was accused of severely assaulting a parent of one of his pupils, breaking his jaw, days after the parent had complained of the principal’s regular absence at a parents’ meeting.

Ihemba, who did not attend that specific meeting, allegedly only became aware of the parent’s complaint after reading the minutes of the meeting.

He allegedly hunted down the parent, and assaulted him.

Regarding this case, Ihemba said it is water under the bridge. 

“That one, my brother, I will not respond. It happened, it was already written about, and it was solved. For now, we have to take what is on the ground now,” he claimed.

At the time, then-circuit education inspector Kosmas Katura and the education ministry’s human resources’ division forwarded their recommendation to the director’s office to charge the principal with misconduct. 

But this was never complied with. Katura was an investigation officer in the matter.

New Era understood the then director was on an official trip to China, and subsequently went on leave upon her return from Asia until the seven days within which she was supposed to have charged the headmaster, lapsed.

Due to that, the principal reportedly went off scot-free.  

“Disciplinary actions were taken against the staff member. However, due to administrative delays at the directorate level, the appointment of a disciplinary committee could not materialise within the required time of seven days from the day the staff member pleaded. The directorate is exploring all avenues to ensure that due justice prevails. We have since taken corrective measures to ensure that similar incidents will not be repeated in the future,” said then director of education in the Kavango West region, Teopolina Hamutumua.

“He was charged with misconduct, and when the charge-sheet reached the director’s office, the director was not available as well as the acting director, in order to effect the misconduct charge and subsequent dismissal, which was supposed to be signed within seven days, as the policy says,’’ said a source.

New Era also learned that the then-director was in discussions with the then-circuit inspector to transfer the principal to another school because the directorate had failed to discipline him for his aggressive behaviour towards the parent.



In a recent interview, education executive director Sanet Steenkamp said she is aware of the matter.  

“I am indeed familiar with the case that you are making reference to. Nobody can be found guilty unless there is a disciplinary procedure, and the disciplinary procedure did not take place because action was not taken in the required time frame,’’ she said last week.

Steenkamp indicated that the ministry is indeed seriously concerned about the conduct. 

“We are aware that they have been on special leave now for two weeks while investigations continue, and we should allow the process to continue. Every case has to be treated on merit; we can’t just shift a person left, right and centre without taking all possible unintended consequences into consideration, and also the impact of that,” she said when asked why the headmaster was never transferred to another workplace as he continues to torment villagers.

“But I do believe that the region is taking all the steps. I have been in touch with director Pontianus Musore, and the issue is being attended to. We just need to give the process time to reach its logical conclusion,” Steenkamp added. 


2023-09-11  John Muyamba

Share on social media