'Ministers spreading STIs at varsities'

HARARE - Zimbabwean government ministers and politicians are spreading Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) among university students, the Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) has said.

According to a research conducted by the student body together with Student Representative Councils (SRCs), government officials were doing little to lobby for the improvement of students’ welfare.

The two bodies said that the officials were preying on university students for cheap sex, as the country’s economy continues on a downward spiral.

At least 6 000 students acquired STIs in the just ended-academic calendar year, according to the two bodies.

“Government has an obligation to ensure that at least they provide for tertiary students,” said Zinasu secretary-general Makomborero Haruzivishe.

“Unfortunately, ministers and politicians are taking advantage of a system they do not want to capacitate.

“That is why we are seeing them taking advantage of vulnerable students.”

Haruzivishe said the upsurge in STIs at the country’s universities was a direct product of a collapsing economy.

Accommodation at tertiary institutions is limited, resulting in most students seeking exorbitant alternative lodgings thereby exposing themselves to exploitation.

“Most of these cases are arising because of poverty,” he said.

“Other parents were recently sacked, some of the parents of these students are teachers, they are not being paid,       others are vendors and they cannot afford the high fees being charged at tertiary institutions.

“All this is leading to exploitation of students,” he said.

Whilst parents have been begging their children to bear with them and understand the hardships, some students have succumbed to pressure and are now engaging in prostitution in order to make ends meet.

Haruzivishe said according to their research, Masvingo Province had the highest number of students infected with STIs this year.

He said at one time, Masvingo Provincial Hospital opened     a special department just to cater for students infected with STIs.

“In the mining town of Mashava, some students are having sex in exchange of accommodation.

“The government is not taking any action for these students to be properly housed and there is no provision for them to access food.”

Students canvassed by the Daily News yesterday disclosed that sex had become the medium of exchange for one to get a decent meal, free rides to school and free accommodation.
Surprisingly, male students also admitted engaging in homosexuality in exchange for money.

Zinasu president Alistair Pfunye said if government subsidised students’ fees, some of these social ills would be eradicated.

Students used to find reprieve in the government’s cadetship programme that paid school fees on condition that the students agreed to be bonded by the State for a stipulated period.

However, that programme has since been suspended.

“We are engaging government on ‘fees must fall’. This issue doesn’t affect an MDC student, a Zanu PF student or a Mavambo student, it affects all students,” he said.

“I am sending a message to all students. Comrades and friends, it’s high time we put away partisan cards and fight for student freedoms.

“We will engage government but if they fail to address the issue, students will make a stand.”

Comments (14)

I wonder if your article about ministers and politicians spreading STIs was properly researched,by the student body its rather insulting the diginity of these office bearers

Nkosilathi Ndlovu - 12 December 2015

That is if the so called ministers have integrity. Dignity is a right for all, minister or no minister.

Zvichapera - 12 December 2015

Rubbish article

Tengenenge - 12 December 2015

Though ur article Mr Student leader,was worth reading,it seems much of what you said was poorly researched.as an ex university student,I do understand the complexities of being a student but it is not a fact to squarely blame ministers for rise in STI spread as students fall go whoever can provide for them.necessity knows no law.Mugabe's govt is too messed up to care.u risk being sjamboked and detained

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bremand bremand - 12 December 2015

I am really pained that the few women in gvt are not looking at the plights of female students at these universities. Parents are sending their children to universities fully aware that they are poorly resourced to cater for their needs. Society is turning a blind eye and every male prostitute knows that they can get cheap sex from college girls. It is sad really that nothing is being done to give dignity, honesty and integrity to these young women. What a price to pay for a degree indeed our country has gone to the dogs!

zvinorwadza - 13 December 2015

The plight of poverty among the female population and greedy men preying on them did not start now. Grace Mugabe was a wife of Goreraza, it was due to platry salary of both Grace and Goreraza that resulted in Grace spreading her thighs to Mugabe who had better means. However she was not the only female married who Mugabe could have approached, but she made her self available. The female students may be vulnerable yes, but it not all the students involved but the matter is on the integrity, responsible, and self respect of the female students. When one does not respect herself and know that suffering as a student is part of that life, then risk so much for just good time then that person is not worth to be called an academia. Its known that majority of these STI are also couple with HIV and AIDS so the female students are endangering the extection a

amina - 13 December 2015

Its true especially in Masvingo if you go to one House in Rhodene unonzwa tsitsi vasikana vanokumhanyira kunge uchabvarurwa kuti atanga ndiani.go there see for yourself

true - 13 December 2015

Bradah Sylvester Maunganidze is one of the government officials knowingly spreading AIDS to university students.

Kuda - 13 December 2015

where are you getting those facts that its the ministers

dipset - 14 December 2015

Unfortunately, it is always going to be the poor who will suffer because of corrupt system that has been eating away at the very core of our country. As for women in power doing something about this predicament, forget it they got where they are through sleeping with the ministers, president etc.

Mary - 14 December 2015

This is a poorly researched article and how many ministers are there to spread to all students.Who has identified that the ministers actually have STIs, On the overall there is no increase to STI nationwide they have actually been on the decline according to ministry stastitics together with the decline of the new HIV cases. While it is good to advocate for better student living conditions it should based on fact

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