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The case of Edison Hlatshawayo - his trials and tribulations
Students Solidarity Trust
October 10, 2007

Edison Hlatshawayo, the Secretary General of the Great Zimbabwe University has been consistently and frequently persecuted by the state, alongside his President, Witlow Mugwiji. Edison is a part 3 student, studying B.COM Banking and Finance at the Great Zimbabwe University.

Police in Masvingo have developed an enviable and insatiable appetite for trampling on the rights of students exercising their legitimate right to free speech and assembly. More often than not, Edison has been systematically victimized, he is currently serving a one-year suspension, and has been arrested countless times, and often times he has been tortured and beaten, all for his cause, defending academic freedoms.

The SST has developed a diary that depicts Edison's involvement and leadership in the students' struggles for the right to Education and the systematic victimization that he has been subjected to as a result of his role in the struggle for democracy and the pursuit of the respect of academic and student's rights. The diary shows the events of this year only, but he has been targeted and victimized in 2006.

Date Action and Description Perpetrator Actions affecting and against Edison
12-02-2007 Edison Hlatshawayo, alongside Whitlow Mugwiji, Everson Zhou, Nicholas Govo and George Makamure are hauled before a disciplinary committee hearing for leading demonstrations against the decision by University administration to nullify election results because pro-admin students had lost the election. College authorities Edison is clearly victimized for standing up against the nullification legitimate election results. Academic freedoms denied, the right to representation denied. The students' body's autonomous right denied.
12-03-2007 Edison is arrested alongside 4 student activists for distributing fliers at Masvingo Polytechnic. Zimbabwe Republic Police Edison and his colleagues are tortured whilst in police custody, and basic rights to free assembly denied. Freedom of expression and association denied.
19-02-2007 Edison and 22 other students appear before a disciplinary committee hearing on charges of demonstrating and presenting a petition to the resident Minister. They are told to appear again before the committee at a later date. College authorities and the Zimbabwe Republic Police Edison and his colleagues are suspended resulting in them failing to attend lectures. They also fail to write their end of semester examinations. Academic freedoms denied The right to legal representation denied.
02-04-2007 Edison and 22 others appear before a disciplinary committee hearing, in the case of petitioning the resident Minister in march to town. College authorities and Zimbabwe Republic Police Edison and his colleagues still not attending lectures. The police intimidate the students and they threaten to make them disappear. Basic and fundamental rights are ignored by the state.
10-04-2007 Edison is arrested alongside his President, Whitlow Mugwiji for leading protests over the closure of catering services at the Great Zimbabwe University. College Security and Police details from the Law and Order Section Edison and Whitlow are barred from entering into campus. They seize to be legitimate students at their institution. Arrested detained and both verbally and physically harassed.
17-04-2007 Edison is suspended, together with Whitlow for inciting students to demonstrate against the closure of catering services at the College. College authorities Edison and Whitlow are no longer allowed to enter campus, no more lectures and can longer participate in any academic activities. They are denied the right to education and to express their views.
06-06-2007 Edison appears in court with 15 other students, facing charges of breaching the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) when they marched into town to petition the resident Minister. College authorities and ZRP Freedom of expression and association denied. The right to be heard denied.
18-06-2007 Edison, alongside Whitlow is brutally assaulted by campus security as they sat for their end of semester examinations. Campus Security Edison goes into hiding and had to be retrieved to Harare, and misses his examinations.
22-06-2007 Edison, alongside Everson Zhou, George Makamure and Whitlow Mugwiji appear in court facing charges under POSA, in which they demonstrated against the decision by the College Authorities to suspend holding of SRC elections. College authorities and the police Edison and his colleagues are further remanded out of custody as the state has no evidence to back their claims.
10-07-2007 Edison and Whitlow take the College to court in a bid to challenge the decision to bar them from writing their examinations. The court ruled that the college must allow the two students to sit for their examinations without interference and gave the college up to the 9th of August to comply with the order. College authorities Edison is denied the opportunity to write examinations.
09-08-2007 Edison, alongside Whitlow appear in court again, taking the College to court and appealing against the decision to bar them from writing their examinations. The case is further remanded to the 17of September on request from the College who said they needed adequate time to prepare for the case. College authorities in cahoots with campus security Edison and his colleague Whitlow are further prejudiced of their academic freedoms by being delayed in the resolution of their examination sitting.
11-09-2007 Edison is arrested with three other student leaders from GZU namely Mukudzei Shoko, Whitlaw Mugwiji and Chanakira after skirmishes with a rival students group, the Zimbabwe Congress of Students Unions (ZICOSU). Secret police in collaboration with ZICOSU affiliated students Edison and his colleagues spend 3 nights in police custody.
27-09-2007 Edison is arrested on the same a youth forum meeting is disrupted in Masvingo, and is still in police custody. He has spend 13 days in police custody. ZRP, State Security agents and Border Gezi youths Edison is severely tortured and beaten by Border Gezi Youth on his arrest before being tortured by police whilst in custody.

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