Students shut down University of Zimbabwe

Students at the University of Zimbabwe shut down their institution on Monday, demanding the removal of President Robert Mugabe.

From early morning students gathered at a vacant parking lot where members of the current SRC were joined by previous student leaders. They began mobilising students. By 10am the crowd had swelled and students began blocking venues while others refused to sit for their end-of-year exams in protest against Mugabe’s refusal to resign from power.

Former SRC President Ostallos Siziba, who now works as an activist with the Tajamuka social movement, climbed on top of a high wall and addressed thousands of students. The university had previously given Grace Mugabe a PhD even though students claim she did not study for one and was undeserving of receiving the degree.

“When I was the SRC President, Vice Chancellor [Levi] Nyagura decided to give Grace Mugabe a PhD. I told him then that we would come back for you. Today is that day. Comrades, I declare this university ungovernable,” said Siziba as students cheered his remarks.

The large group of students, some waving anti-Mugabe posters, marched towards the main university library and demanded that all inside join them in voicing their demands that Robert Mugabe step down and that the PhD awarded to Grace Mugabe be annulled.


Outside the library the group sang the national anthem and continued singing songs demanding that Mugabe and the vice-chancellor step down.

Treasure Basopo, an economics student, said he would like to see a Zimbabwe where there was economic and social justice. “We are concurring with the military and war veterans and saying that Mugabe must go,” said Basopo. He also said that students were echoing the demands of students in South Africa and calling for free education. He accused the vice chancellor of oppressing students and of being a Mugabe stooge who used the university to fight factional political battles in favour of Mugabe and his wife Grace.

Students made their way to the vice chancellor’s office where they began moving closer and closer to the main entrance. They did a countdown and wanted to charge into the office but the student leadership stepped in and calmed the crowd. A student leader appealed for restraint and reminded students that the protests must remain peaceful at all times and that no university property must be damaged. Other students began forming a human chain around the entrance to the vice chancellor’s office to prevent any sort of violence. The university security stood back and watched and no police were visible as the police commissioner, who is a Mugabe ally, has not been seen in public since last week’s coup.

Student Nicholas Mpofu said that Mugabe should go as he has failed to implement proper policies causing widespread economic hardship. “This is a tuck shop economy. Graduates are failing to secure jobs. We call on him to step down with immediate effect,” said Mpofu. “When Mugabe went to war they were young like us. We are also fighting now, but we are not fighting with guns because we are in the 21st century where we have to fight with our intellectual capacity.”

The shutdown continues.


Published originally on GroundUp .


© 2017 GroundUp. Creative Commons License
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and GroundUp, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Hope is locked away in Zimbabwe

Hopewell Chin’ono backed President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he succeeded Robert Mugabe. Now he’s in jail

Malawi celebrates independence day, but the first president left his mark

The historical record shows that Malawi’s difficulties under Hastings Banda were evident at the very moment of the country’s founding

Rule of law must first be strengthened by people power

Dynamic grassroots movements are especially needed in authoritarian states where institutions are fundamentally broken

Party political meddling threatens future of universities

Campuses elsewhere in Africa have seen the damage done by student activism influenced by political parties, a matter that has raised concern at South Africa’s higher education institutions

Of drumming, Tony Allen, Charles Mungoshi and my cousin

Drummers have the power to allow Zimbabweans to commune with their ancestors, and none more so than those with elevated talent on the skins.

Covid-19 shows what Zimbabwean nationalism means

The country’s elites can no longer jet away to overseas health facilities and must now face the hospital system that could not help Zororo Makamba, a 30-year-old who died of the virus
Advertising

Vaccine trial results due in December

If successful, it will then have to be manufactured and distributed

White men still rule and earn more

Women and black people occupy only a few seats at the JSE table, the latest PwC report has found

The PPE scandal that the Treasury hasn’t touched

Many government officials have been talking tough about dealing with rampant corruption in PPE procurement but the majority won't even release names of who has benefited from the R10-billion spend
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday