Riot police quell GZU job seekers

MASVINGO - Chaos rocked Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) after officials called in armed riot police officers to disperse hundreds of desperate job seekers who got wind the institution was employing security guards.

About 500 unemployed Masvingo residents swarmed the university campus and refused to leave after being told no jobs were available on Monday.

Unemployment in Zimbabwe hovers at around 80 percent, putting the country in the group of African countries with the highest unemployment rates.

University officials, including deputy registrar for Human Resources and Administration Luke Kasenya, had a torrid time trying to convince the job seekers that they had been misled.

Many of the job seekers said they were eager to land jobs at the university after getting reports that the institution paid better than most government institutions, with security guards getting better salaries than most civil servants.

Security guards at the university are said to be earning over $400 while teachers and civil servants get about $250.

The job seekers had to take to their heels after armed riot police stormed the campus.

“We had to run for dear life after we saw armed police approaching us and we knew that they had been called to deal with us. We thought the authorities wanted to get rid of the big number of people at the college so that they could recruit later after information circulated that they were employing security guards who will be getting better salaries than civil servants,” said Edmore Ganunga, one of the job seekers.

GZU information director James July confirmed the incident but played down the pandemonium.

“It was just a minor thing not worth writing about. But let me consult my bosses then I will come back to you,” said July.

Police spokesperson in Masvingo Peter Zhanero could not be reached for comment.

Issues of unemployment have been topical with major political parties in the government all using it as bait to win votes in elections scheduled for later this year.

Zanu PF says it will deal with unemployment through an empowerment programme while the MDC has launched a blueprint promising a million jobs in five years if it wins power.

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