MASERU – The Roman Catholic Primary School in Mazenod was on Monday gutted by fire, leaving one classroom in ashes. Locals at Ha Paki, Mazenod, took to the social media platforms after the fire erupted in one of the classrooms, consuming the building and its roofing.
An eye witness who lives near the school who chose not to be named, told this paper this week that he was coming from the toilet at his residence at around 19:00hrs in the evening on Monday when he saw two men aged between 18 and 25 years leaving the school premises in a rush, through the pedestrian gate.
Soon after he then saw smoke billowing from one of the classrooms so he decided to alert the acting principal and other neighbours to go to the school to put out the fire.
“We could not enter the school premises because the gate was locked so we decided to cut through the fence but when we reached the burning classroom we feared to break down the doors, fearing for our lives.
“We were scared that we might later be accused of contributing to the destruction, so we called the principal,” he said. The acting principal, Sitoe Koenehe, said he came to the scene after a series of phone calls woke him up and on arrival he rushed to the door to unlock the classroom so that they could put out the fire.
“What I found after opening was flames of fire across the classroom; the strange thing is that there was no smell of paraffin or petrol that could have spread the fire throughout the class, but all the desks were in flames.
“You should remember that due to Covid-19 protocols there is spacing in classrooms, yet all the desks were in flames when I got there,” Koenehe explained.
The Mazenod Primary School premises are not guarded due to lack of funds to hire watchmen, and this is what the school board believes led to the burning of the class. Koenehe went on to disclose that this is the third attempt at burning the same classroom. The first time was on May 17, but the classroom was saved by the Catholic congregation headed to their morning prayer that day.
Two days later in the same month while arriving for work at 07:00hrs the acting principal discovered there was smoke coming in from a locker in the classroom.
“These acts of burning pose multiple questions to me as an individual but, clearly, someone is at war fighting for something we as the school management don’t know.
“If only they can come forward to say what it is they are after, maybe then we can find common ground for solutions. Outside of that we are all clueless and honestly our work has been hardened because we had to reduce classes from four to three to accommodate those whose classroom was burnt,” Koenehe said.
Principal Koenehe has been acting in the position from the year 2019 without being confirmed permanent, the Ministry of Education and Training has since advertised the post and he, along with several other applicants, is awaiting results.