Student Leaders Arrested During Protests Against Increase in Fees
According to ZimDaily, eight university student leaders have been arrested in Harare last week during a protest against the hike in fees. The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) have filed an urgent chamber application seeking their release. On of the detainees is Washington Katema, the president of the Zimbabwe National Students' Union (Zinasu).
A student representative, Promise Mkwananzi, stated that his colleagues addressed a student meeting on 27 February 2006 and then were "urged to march to the vice-chancellor's office. The police barricaded the way and arrested the eight students".
Zimdaily reports that as of 2 March 2006, only 500 out of a total of 13 000 students of the University of Zimbabwe have managed to pay the recently introduced tuition fees. The new fees, excluding accommodation fees, range between $60 million and $90 million per semester, which is equivalent to the annual salary of an ordinary Zimbabwean worker.
Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), condemned the arrest of the student leaders as “the work of a cornered regime that has lost the compass in the high seas of governance, and is now allowing the winds of fate to drift the ship to whatever hidden water coral.”
Chamisa further commented that the Zimbabwean government has abdicated its responsibility to educate citizens in breach of its pledge to the people of Zimbabwe adding that the “regime is now a threat to the post-independence education sector improvements and advances.”
Moreover Chamisa added: “The MDC condemns the commercialisation of tertiary education and the continued assault on our civil liberties. We demand that the new fee structure be scrapped or that students' allowances be at par with the new fees. We demand an end to police brutality. We demand affordable education for our children. We demand respect for basic human rights and we call upon this regime to come to its senses before it suffers a major backlash from disgruntled people.”
Protests have been mounting over shock fee hikes announced earlier this month for many institutions of higher learning in Zimbabwe. In some cases the new fees - which were reportedly approved by the government - were 10 times more than those for last year.
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Alert - Zimbabwe
|Date:||03 March 2006|
|Affected Persons:||Washington Katema, Wellington Mahohoma, Collen Chibango, Tinei Sande, Mfundo Mlilo|
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