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Respect the Rights of Students

THE MDC strongly condemns the on-going arrests of tertiary students across the country who are demonstrating against exorbitant fees being charged by tertiary institutions.

This week at least 14 student leaders from Great Zimbabwe University were arrested after taking part in a peaceful demonstration in Masvingo over high fees.

The students had marched to the central business district in Masvingo, holding placards denouncing the fee structure which is well above what their parents can afford.

In Bulawayo, 30 students at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) were also arrested for staging a peaceful demonstration over fee increases. About 80% of Nust students have been denied a chance to sit for their final examinations as they have failed to raise the required fees for sitting for the examinations.

A communiqué has also been issued by Midlands State University (MSU) officials that all students who have not paid their fees will not be allowed to sit for the examinations.

The MDC urges the inclusive government to urgently deal with the chaos at our tertiary colleges which has been sparked by exorbitant tuition fees of above US$450 at a time when average salaries are barely above US$100 per month.

This is a serious indictment on the education system in Zimbabwe and a major dent on the image of the inclusive government which had begun to enjoy international goodwill.

What is more worrying is that the university authorities are barring students who had been offered a cadetship programme by the government.

The heavy handedness and overzealousness being shown by the police and university authorities is not in line with the expectations of the new dispensation hoped for by the people of Zimbabwe.

 We had hoped that with the new inclusive government, a new era of openness, respect for academic freedom and freedom of assembly and tolerance would be the hallmark of the new order.

The MDC is a party of excellence. We believe that trampling the rights of innocent citizens is a betrayal of the new era of inclusiveness. The days of arbitrary arrests and persecution of students are long gone by.

They have since been overtaken by the nation’s zest for a new Zimbabwe and a new beginning; an era which began with the consummation of the inclusive government.  Together to the end, marching to a new Zimbabwe.

Students are the nation’s future. Their rights must be respected because education is a basic human right. Zimbabwe’s future is in our hands.

MDC Information and Publicity Department.

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