Catholics living in and around Fatima Mission in Lupane, along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway, have expressed concern over the setting-up of a beer hall at Fatima Primary, a former Roman Catholic school.

Fatima Mission, previously comprising, a mission house, convent, primary school, high school and a hospital, had the two schools taken over by the government after independence. The state-of-the-art hospital was destroyed during the liberation struggle.

However, since government takeover, standards have declined at the once reputable schools. Some local business people are now setting up beer halls within the premises, something which was taboo during the missionary era.

Insiders told RelZim that setting up beer halls in the school was in contradiction with the missionaries’ vision of providing quality education as pupils could easily get carried away and begin to drink thinking it is a social norm.

There was also another beer hall at the high school which was closed down after Catholics complained about its existence. But calls to shut down the one at the primary school seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

Meanwhile, villagers have also complained of rampant prostitution at the former mission rooms rented mostly to women working in and around the mission.

Meanwhile, Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church remains a vibrant beacon of faith-based life with over 10 outstations in Lupane and Binga Districts of Matabeleland North Province.