Six student leaders nabbed

LUPANE - SIX Lupane State University (LSU) Students Representative Committee (SRC) members were recently arrested after staging a demonstration against the tertiary institution’s decision to bar those failing to pay registration fees.

LSU banned students who have not paid registration fees from attending lectures and accessing the university’s facilities.
The university is demanding $350 upfront in order for them to be granted access into the institution.

SRC president Silas Mukusha led a demonstration in protest against the university’s decision and was arrested alongside five other students. Zimbabwe Republic Police confirmed the arrests saying the students are awaiting trial.

“We have arrested six students from LSU for disorderly conduct. They will appear in court soon,” Bulawayo deputy police spokesperson inspector Abednico Ncube said. National Association of Youth Organisations (Nayo) in Zimbabwe has angrily reacted to the arrests suggesting that the students should be allowed to exercise their right to a peaceful demonstration.

“The freedoms of assembly, association and expression (Sections 58 and 61) tied with freedom to demonstrate (Section 59) must not only exist in the Constitution. Nayo notes with concern this development in Lupane,” the statement read.

“Zimbabwe is a land with milk and honey just like any other land, just that the taste is different, Section 61 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe allows for freedom of expression yet most activists including students in Zimbabwe have been arrested.”

In a video that was circulating on social media, police officers chained Mukusha to a traffic light before dragging him to Bulawayo Central Police. The university reportedly gives students a two weeks’ grace period to register and regularise their relationship with the university.

Once the given period lapses, students are allegedly barred from accessing the university’s premises as a way of encouraging them to register as students. Efforts to get comments from the university were fruitless.

Last year, 50 students from the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) were also arrested after their protest over buses threatened to turn ugly. Students had, for a long time, been at loggerheads with the institution’s administration accusing them of mismanagement of buses.

The university buses ferry staff members to and from the city centre and students are not allowed on them. The students, however, argued that they had the right to use the buses saying they were bought using their funds.

Students allegedly pay bus levy every semester but most of them finish their degrees without using the buses.

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