RIOT police yesterday fired teargas canisters to disperse students at Great Zimbabwe University (GZU), who stormed the institution’s Mashava campus protesting against poor diet, unsafe drinking water, hiked tuition fees and withdrawal of wi-fi facilities.
By Felix Machiwenyika/ Hazvinei Mwanaka/Sukuoluhle Ndlovu
GZU acting vice-chancellor, Andrew Chindanya, confirmed the students’ protests and said they were engaging the union leaders to resolve their grievances.
“I am in the process of talking to them now, we are trying to resolve the situation,” he said.
A student who requested anonymity accused riot police of brutality in crushing the protests which he claimed had been cleared by police in Masvingo.
“We were given the permission to engage in a peaceful demo, but to our surprise the police and campus security guards stormed us with tear smoke and fired guns at us,” he said.
“The standards of living for students have drastically deteriorated, there is shortage of water and sometimes it’s dirty,” another student said.
The demonstrations started in the morning, with groups of students blocking roads to the campus.
“The tuition fee was hiked without consulting us, where do they think we will get that money from? We all know our economic situation. We pay our fees and yet still the campus facilities and management is so poor,” one student who was at the scene said.
“The police arrived at the scene and threw teargas canisters at the students in a bid to force us abandon the demonstration, but we shall continue until the situation is resolved. At least they should provide us with tangible solutions. We want to be treated equally with other students from other campuses, why do they segregate us yet we are from the same university and paying same fees,” said another female student who declined to be named.