BY NIZBERT MOYO / FARAI MATIASHE
POLICE on Monday arrested six Lupane State University (LSU) students for engaging in violent protests over access to lecture rooms at their Bulawayo campus at Parkade Centre.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube confirmed the arrests.
“I can confirm that we attended Lupane State University disturbances and six people were arrested for disorderly behaviour,’’ Ncube said.
LSU sokesperson Zwelithini Dlamini said the disturbances at the city campus were caused by part four students led by their president Silas Makusha, who is based at the Lupane campus.
“He came to the Bulawayo campus and he belongs to humanities and social sciences department, which has since been relocated to Lupane campus. He was accompanied by a number of students who wanted to access lecture rooms.
“Our internal security demanded to see his student identity card as per requirement which he failed to produce, but wanted to bulldoze his way in. We are told he wanted to mobilise students and to put furniture out in the corridor, so chaos ensued,” Dlamini said.
He added that the university officials met the students last week to hear their grievances.
He said one of the issues they raised was the issue of WiFi which they said was not accessible and the other one had to do with registration.
Dlamini appealed to students to continue engaging school authorities rather than resorting to demonstrations.
Zimbabwe Congress of Students Union chief whip, Godknows Mdhari said some innocent student were caught up in the skirmishes.
“If this was a genuine demonstration, then it was supposed to take place at Lupane campus not here in Bulawayo. When these students came here to do their demonstration they were overpowered by us, with the help of the police,” he said.
“There are some innocent students who were caught unaware and we will work hard to ensure they are freed.”
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) yesterday called for the immediate release of the arrested students who were detained in Bulawayo and Masvingo.
Zinasu Masvingo provincial chairperson Simon Gatawa and other members were arrested at the Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) after demonstrating against the deteriorating education system.
Gatawa and his co-accused from LSU appeared in court yesterday.
Zinasu secretary-general Ashely Pfunye accused government of violating students rights.
“The government is harassing students. We have information that about five of our students were detained yesterday without any charges. We are calling for the immediate release of these young leaders. They were exercising their constitutionally given right and they were non-violent,” he said.
Pfunye said government should address the problems bedevilling the nation instead of suppressing dissent.
“We are calling for the autonomy of institutions. We want GZU and LSU to have their own chancellors. Let the academic arena be purely academic. The academic arena must be depoliticised so that students can get education freely,” Pfunye said.