HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s beloved son Chatunga Bellarmine has been expelled from a top Harare private school, St Georges College, for alleged gross indiscipline, the Daily News can reveal.
Although there were conflicting statements about the exact nature of his indiscretions, authoritative sources at the expensive and Catholic-run school said the youngster was ejected after clashes with school authorities.
“He (Chatunga) was on a last warning and was sent packing for gross indiscipline and insubordination,” one of the sources said.
“While the parties (school and family) have tried to sell it as a ‘voluntary withdrawal’, the boy was effectively expelled after strenuous debate within the school committee (about this and) other disciplinary structures due to its potential implication.”
In the aftermath of his expulsion, the 16 year-old boy is reportedly on home schooling, the sources said.
Lawrence Kamwi, spokesman for the First Family, would neither confirm nor deny the issue.
“Very well, let your sources confirm that he was expelled from the school,” he told the Daily News yesterday.
Repeated efforts to elicit official comment from school authorities were also unsuccessful, with the secretary for school head Kevin Atkinson saying he was in meetings.
The Form Four student, who was named after Mugabe’s grandfather, was also reportedly suspended for a week last year after a string of incidents on account of alleged bad behaviour.
An apparently highly-pampered teenager, Chatunga and his elder brother Robert have also made the news for their fashion tastes, including military fatigues, at public functions.
Chatunga’s expulsion, though, is expected to “deflate” his octogenarian father – a former teacher and known stickler for discipline.
A man with numerous degrees, the Zanu PF leader – who turns 89 this month – was gushing when his daughter Bona graduated with an accountancy degree from an Asian university in 2011.
While the brown-skinned lass has fared better than her brothers and mother Grace, who reportedly flunked her English literature degree, Mugabe has even urged Bona to pursue a master’s degree.
With both Chatunga and Robert junior enrolling at St Georges’ College at different times, the elite school is barely 500 metres away from the Zanu PF leader’s official residence on Borrowdale Road.
Famed for its sporting and academic excellence, the school is also a favourite for many of Zimbabwe’s well-heeled families and political elites.
Although Robert Jnr has also proven to be a laggard educationally – a fact confirmed by Mugabe in a Sunday Mail interview last year – the youngster has, however, excelled in sport, especially basketball.
At some point, the young man even played for the Zimbabwe under-18 team, where he was a star and firm favourite of adoring girls.
Commenting on his son’s abysmal failure, a jocular Mugabe said then that Robert had become an “undertaker” for a string of ungraded marks in his Advanced Level examinations.
In addition to his outlandish outfits, the elder Mugabe son has made waves for his outgoing behaviour and love for the finer things in life – a trait observers say is more in tune with his mother Grace’s style.
And like his mother, Robert junior spots peroxide or tinted hair.
Mugabe, a reputed bookworm in his days as a cattle-herder in rural Zvimba, attained most of his degrees at the height of Zimbabwe’s armed struggle. – Bridget Mananavire