Mozambique: Tete School Managers Accused of Diverting Funds

Maputo — The Mozambican government's National Inspectorate of Economic Activities (INAE) in the western province of Tete has denounced the undue use of funds allocated to secondary schools for use in preventive measures against the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a report on Radio Mozambique, the INAE delegate in Tete, Eduardo Matangue, made the denunciation at a meeting in Tete city of the Operational Emergency Committee for public health. He blamed the school managers for diverting the funds which should have been used to improve hygiene conditions.

The limited stocks of hygiene products found in the schools were not compatible with the amounts of money that had been allocated. The practical result is that only half of Tete's secondary schools (16 out of 33) have been approved for re-opening on 1 October.

INAE found that key equipment has not been obtained, and basic precautions have not been taken. These schools lacked clean drinking water, and the infra-red thermometers required to measure body temperature. Furthermore they had not marked out the spaces for social distancing (a minimum of 1.5 metres between individuals), and made no provision for isolation rooms for possible cases of Covid-19.

"The stocks we found do not correspond to the sums the schools received", said Matangue. "We fund that some schools have just 10 litres of alcohol gel, a bucket and a broom, although they received 130,000 meticais (about 1,800 US dollars)".

"In the schools which have student residences, the kitchens are in an appalling state", he accused. "They're deplorable, and they are in no condition to cook food for students".

As for bathrooms, the inspectors found that schools which only had latrines kept them in better conditions than those which had conventional bathrooms.

The Secretary of State for Tete, Elisa Zacarias, after hearing justifications from the school managers, demanded greater transparency and more work from them.

"They aren't doing good quality work", she accused. "Even in the secondary schools that have been approved for re-opening, I made visits and I found that the bathrooms are not in a good condition. I have given a deadline of 30 days to solve the problem".

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