Bid to Install Mugabe's Student Leaders at UZ

SEVERAL female students were subjected to harassment whilst some candidates have been sidelined following a decision by the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) to postpone elections for the student representative body in a move that has been viewed as a ploy to secure victory for students aligned to President Robert Mugabe.

 

The move by the authorities has been construed as an attempt to control the youth vote in the student sector ahead of the elections.

 

Several students were going to contest in the SRC elections on Tuesday April 30 before the country's oldest and biggest University introduced new regulations, which elbowed out other candidates. The move came after President Robert Mugabe appeared in the State run newspaper The Herald's front page holding the shoulder of one of the student candidates - a gesture which some might interpret as being an open endorsement.

 

The candidate from ZICOSU which is aligned to the President's Zanu-PF party, Charles Munganasa remains in the ring after 12 candidates mainly from rival Students Union ZINASU were sidelined.

The Dean of Students, Mr. Munyaradzi Madambe reportedly postponed the election and instead called a meeting with the aspiring candidates.

 

Those sidelined include top candidates - aspiring President, Kokerai Murombo and aspiring Secretary General, Takudzwa Dumbunu - fielded by ZINASU, which is also the International Students' Peace Prize winning students body. Moreover, it appears female candidates opposed to President Mugabe's 'darling' Union, ZICOSU were subjected to harassment.

 

According to a female student source who requested anonymity out of fear of dismissal:

"In the morning the university security arrested aspiring Secretary General Takudzwa Dumbunu as she disembarked from a kombi at the college and searched her phone deleting some pictures and information.

"They apparently wanted to remove pictures where we captured the university security harassing us.

"On Friday they arrested Rudo Mapedza who spent the night at Avondale Police Station in police cells and was only released on Saturday after we engaged a lawyer from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, named Mutongi Bhamu.

"This was after they had been harassing us the whole week and tearing up our posters, € she said adding that a student's camera was smashed in the skirmishes.

 

Another student Elizabeth Maphosa was harassed and manhandled for taking pictures according to the source that spoke to the Crisis Report.

 

"Today they released a new constitution which they have refused to give to us. The nomination court is supposed to be reconvened this week and the elections will now take place on May 7 but it has been made clear our candidates are out, € the source said.

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