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Students livid by ‘no jab, no school directives’

STUDENTS have raised objection over compulsory vaccination which has been instigated by several tertiary institutions around the country.

Institutions of higher learning which include the University of Zimbabwe, Harare Institute of Technology and Chinhoyi University of Technology, among others have put out notices limiting the access of their facilities to vaccinated students only.

Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) Secretary General Tapiwanashe Chiriga said the action of barring students on the grounds of not being vaccinated was immoral and unconstitutional.

“We will seek corrective measures at three levels of action. We have started to engage the Ministry so that we have a uniform policy position vaccination across the country. If we are not heard, we will pursue the legal route to protect the rights of all students and we will pursue all constitutionally provided avenues to express ourselves if we are not heard,” Chiriga told Zim Morning Post.

In a notice to students on August 13, the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) Registrar, Mary Samupindi, barred unvaccinated students from sitting for their end of semester examinations.

“All students coming for the examinations are expected to produce a valid vaccination card or certificate or COVID-19 negative PCR test issued within 48 hours,’’ reads part of the statement that also stated that fully vaccinated students will be first in line for accommodation

In a letter dated August 30 and addressed to Higher Education minister Amon Murwira, Chiriga said there was no law that barred unvaccinated students from accessing university facilities.

“It has come to our attention that institutions of higher learning are barring students who are yet to be vaccinated from accessing campus premises, particularly at Chinhoyi University of Technology,” Chiriga said in the letter.

Recently Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) sued several companies after they ordered workers to take the Covid-19 vaccines – or risk losing their jobs.

In an urgent High Court filed in August, the ZCTU said the actions by companies such as Zimnat Insurance, the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA), TelOne, Windmill Limited, Seed Co Zimbabwe and the Manicaland State University of Applied Sciences violated workers’ constitutional rights.

Public service minister Paul Mavhima and Attorney General Prince Machaya are also joined in the court action.

“There is no law in Zimbabwe making vaccination compulsory. Each person, having fully considered the implications and effects of vaccination, is expected to make a personal decision on whether or not to get vaccinated and where a person decides to get vaccinated, he or she is expected to make a decision relating to the timing of the vaccination,” the ZCTU argues in the court application.

It said the companies were “taking the law into their own hands as there is no law providing for compulsory vaccination in respect of Covid-19.”