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Position paper before 2013 harmonised elections
Zimbabwe National Students Union
April 16, 2013

We the students of Zimbabwe, united and mobilized under the banner of the Zimbabwe National Students Union with which we reaffirm as our national leadership and representative body,

Inspired, by our unquenchable desire to see Zimbabwe working again,

Concerned, by the continued suffocation of the students voice on national, academic and political discourse of our beloved country Zimbabwe,

Cognisant, of the current political transition which is by and large characterized by political discord, political party machinations and non compliance with political reforms as stipulated in the Global Political Agreement (G.P.A),

Acknowledging, the power disparity within the inclusive government while taking note of the fact that the struggle remains our inalienable birthright;

Gathered at Red Cross Youth Training Center, Kambuzuma, Harare from the 12th to the 14th of April to deliberate the future of our country. As we approach the breakthrough 2013 harmonized elections which mark an end to the G.P.A which was set in 2008, we demand that the student voice be heard and a fair platform for our participation as voters or candidates be made available.

After serious and conscious deliberations; we resolved and consequently demand the following to be addressed as we proceed with our academic calendar and head for the subsequent elections.

1. Consistent free and fair S.R.C elections: ZINASU embraces the concept of free and fair elections as one of the salient tenets of good governance. We demand that all tertiary institutions be allowed to freely conduct their elections without the imposition of candidates or state/admin influence in the processes. It is our wish to see this practice of free and fair elections being manifested at national level.

2. Leadership renewal: ZINASU condemns with the uttermost contempt the idea of a one man rule. Zimbabwe has been led by one Robert Gabriel Mugabe who seems not keen to hand over power even at the age of 89. Zimbabwe is full of bright young intellectuals and this in its self provides a fertile ground for power transfer and generational empowerment.

3. Substantive Minister: We are gravely concerned by the calibre of the acting minister of higher and Tertiary education, Dr Ignatius Chombo. This man has failed to run his own ministry and to overload him with more responsibilities is a sad arrangement which should be met with the coldest rebuke possible. His own ministry is allegedly marred by massive corruption and the individual has allegedly been fingered on many corruption scandals some involving the unprocedural purchase of land that equates to 20 football pitches. It then contravenes the principles of basic logic and only suffices to say that Dr Chombo is NOT fit to lead the universities and colleges as acting minister.

4. Appointment of key University/College personnel: Senior personnel that include Deans, H.o.Ds, Registrars, Pro Vice chancellors and the Vice Chancellors themselves must be appointed on merit and not political affiliation. ZANU PF has staffed its blue eyed boys who are failing dismally to handle and maintain university standards thereby compromising the quality of education. This same arrangement has compromised student activism which has seen the assassination of voices being deemed to be dissenting. Arrests, detentions and expulsions remain rampant on those that choose to defend their academic freedoms. In this light therefore we denounce the appointment of Levy Nyagura as UZ Vice Chancellor with the full contempt that it deserves.

5. Affordable Tertiary education: Noting that education is a basic human right as enshrined in the tabled new constitution, we demand to see a different paradigm from the status quo which paddocks the elite on the fore front of advancing their education at tertiary level. The exorbitant and unjustifiable fees being charged in tertiary institutions have reduced the sound academic minds of Zimbabwe to mere manual workers. Students should be incentivized to learn for they remain a key assert to the nation. This arrangement needs to be gelled through the creation of employment opportunities. We will not subscribe to the political pontifications of the nonexistent youth empowerment drive which is benefiting ZANU PF youths while sideling the rest.

6. Student’s grants and loans: We are very much alive to the fact that the country has generated huge sums of money from the sale of diamonds which is being conducted nicodimously, under the banner of darkness as confirmed by the finance Minister. We call upon those operating the financial machinery of diamond sales to be transparent and remit funds to treasury, funds which we want to be channelled towards the grants system. The Cadetship program in its infamous nature continues to be run secretly with university authorities choosing to release funds based on connection and not merit.

7. Female student’s participation in governance: Whilst we applaud the inclusion of reserved seats for women (as enshrined in the new constitution) we recommend that political parties consider female students in their allocations. We have drawn inspiration from Honourable Ms Proscovia Oromait, a Ugandan legislator aged 20 who is doing very well in government. We remain resolute that we are the leaders of today and shall continue to carry the torch of democracy, characterized by meaningful youth participation at each and e very level of local and national decision making.

8. Peaceful free and fair elections: We demand free and fair elections in which the will of the people is respected. The year 2008 witnessed an election period which was marred with violence and tainted with blood and mass suffering of the pro-democrats. This move should be guaranteed by the inclusion of accredited foreign observers who have got to come in time for the polls before, during and after. Youths need to be part of this process through massive voter registration which should be decentralized to tertiary institutions and the registration procedure must be flexible to allow every student to register as a voter.

9. CSO’s operating environment: Frustrated by the continued harassment, raiding and muzzling of the Zimbabwean civil society, we maintain that the state should stop these illegal operations. Civil society plays an integral role in monitoring the broader governance and development issues whilst augmenting the government in discharging its duties. The police needs to behave in a professional way that reflects professionalism and non-political bias.

10. Grand coalition: Contrary to falsehoods carried by the State media in blatant attempts to paint a false picture of ZINASU suddenly developing a soft spot for ZANU PF and thus ditching the pro – democracy forces; for the record this is cheap propaganda by ZANU PF meant to swindle and confuse the masses. Students have unilaterally declared that ZANU PF is an enemy beyond conciliation and as we go for elections later this year we will definitely mobilise and vote against ZANU PF. Students have further resolved to push the major actors on the pro – democracy political parties mainly the MDC-T led by Dr. Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC led by Prof. Welshman Ncube, to create a grand coalition against Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF ahead of the polls. We believe ZANU PF is a national enemy which all who are progressive must join hands to collectively ouster from power.

In conclusion, we re-affirm that our position as students is neither negotiable nor for sale. We are equally concerned by the political dynamics of our country hence we shall continue to fight for our academic freedoms and a new Zimbabwe. We do not say these things in the gross spirit of being retrogressive but we speak in the clearest sense and meaning of it.

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