The Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) says it will begin mass mobilisations in two weeks in protest to the recent arrests of students and the current economic climate.
The student organisation’s statement comes after the arrest on Monday of Lupane University’s Student Representative Council president Silas Makusha, following demonstrations against increasing tuition fees and poor service delivery on campus.
Speaking at a press conference in Harare on Tuesday, ZINASU secretary general, Ashlegh Pfunye said the harsh economic environment had forced students to resort to demonstrations.
“The students are the face of continuous deteriorating economic situation, they are swimming in the ocean of poverty while those in positions of power have secured their own island of wealth.
“The present crisis is such that one one hand are students waking up to the blessing of an empty stomach and at the other hand are their parents waking up to face a jobless existence,” he said.
Pfunye called for the “autonomy” of educational institutions calling for President Emmerson Mnangagwa to be stripped of the title ‘Chancellor of all universities.’
The ZINASU statement also castigated the the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education over reports it meant to “scrap” certain degree courses.
Pfunye described the move as “ill-advised” saying government had failed to address “structural issues” such as job creation for graduates.
The student’s organization also demanded sanitary and affordable accommodation, free education for some students, as well as provision for payment schemes on tuition fees.
ZINASU representative, Nathaniel Dumba said the issues were “macro in nature” and were therefore beyond the purview of the educational institutions to address, which is why students had to take their grievances directly to the government.
He described the worsening food provisions at various learning institutions as a reflection of the “economy of the day.”
ZINASU spokesperson, Tatenda Mandondo accused the police of making arbitrary arrests which his organisation described as human rights violations, saying the police were “arresting people only to investigate.”
Mandondo said “thousands of students” were deferring due to the increments in tuition fees.