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Masvingo students demonstrate over steep payment conditions
Students Solidarity Trust
May 31, 2010

Thursday 27 May marked the first day of a two day demonstration series in which Masvingo Polytechnic students were like most students in the country are fighting for the right to education which has been sidelined by the Unity government. Students were told that if they could not pay their examination fees together with tuition they could not be registered by the collage authorities.

The Zinasu leadership based in Masvingo, after realizing that the college authorities were starting a process of disenfranchising the majority of students (most of them coming from poor and peasantry background), decided to organize a peaceful protest in a bid to force the authorities to understand their plight. Two Zinasu leaders, Alec Tabe and Godfrey Kuraune mobilized students not to register but pay the examination fees in solidarity with the other students who could not afford the tuition. The two ZINASU leaders were arrested for allegedly inciting violence and were severely assaulted in police custody; Gofrey Kuraune could not walk as he had been severely beaten under his feet by the police. They are believed to have been picked up by a state vehicle used by the CIO, with registration number ABM0233. They were later released on the same day after admission of guilt fines.

ZINASU President, Obert Masaraure and the Secretary General, Joshua Chinyere then led another peaceful protest on Friday the 28th of May, which was the deadline for the payment of tuition and the examination fees. The students demanded an address by the Principal who refused to give them an audience which then led to the students assaulting him for his lack of interest in their welfare. ZINASU leadership stopped the assault and pleaded with the students to follow protocol and always address themselves in a non violent manner. Riot police then invaded the scene and assaulted several students before cordoning of the campus for the rest of the day.

After the demonstration on Friday the students at Masvingo Polytechnic are believed to be paying their examination fees without tuition. The examinations are scheduled to commence in November.

On the 29th of May Arnold Batsirai was arrested for assaulting the Principal of Masvingo Polytechnic Mr. C.J Nyamukaro. On the 28th five more students were taken into custody on the same charge, Zivanai Muzorori, Blessing Dhubhi, Knowledge Tundu, Lawrence Mapengo and Obey Maimbe are now in police custody. At the time of release of this alert the six students were still in police custody.

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