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UZ suspends student council leaders

Itai Mushekwe

THE University of Zimbabwe (UZ) has suspended members of the Students Executive Council (SEC) for allegedly inciting students to reject a UZ council directive for them to bankroll its hostel re

furbishment projects.

According to sources, the UZ wanted each student to sign a form issued by a senior warden agreeing to pay for the repainting of their hostels and repair of other facilities.

It is understood that students were asked to pay as much as $150 000 each from their meagre government allowances.

Non-resident students receive a miserly $1,9 million stipend while resident students get $1,1 million as grants.

A final year sociology student who requested anonymity said they were being prejudiced academically as a result of the university’s mismanagement.

“It was a kind of desperate ploy to rehabilitate campus facilities which the authorities have turned a blind eye to for ages, using students as a front,” he said.

“We were never consulted when these decisions were made,” he said.

The SEC wrote a letter to Vice-Chancellor Levi Nyagura to protest the warden’s directive. After failing to receive feedback from Nyagura, the SEC lobbied students to defy the order to pay for the refurbishments.

Pandemonium broke out at the campus last Wednesday over the directive, forcing the authorities to call the riot police to quell disturbances.

The riot police, known for its brutality, charged anyone they met, leaving many students injured, said a source.

Security agents were reportedly called in to ferret out student leaders whom they reportedly beat up before handing them over to the university authorities who in turn expelled the SEC president.

Two SEC members are said to be missing. Collen Chibanga and Mfundo Mlilo, the SEC’s vice-president and secretary-general respectively, were issued with suspension letters by Nyagura.

“In light of the transgressions detailed above (violation of the rules of conduct and discipline of Ordinance 30) I have found it necessary to suspend you with immediate effect from the University of Zimbabwe until your case has been heard by the Students Disciplinary Committee,” the letter of suspension reads.

The UZ has of late been hit by a host of problems.

Students complain of water shortages and pressure on the sewage system due to excess enrolments, thus posing a serious health menace. There are over 14 000 registered students, who are reportedly overcrowding lecture halls.

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