If there is a shared belief amongst the authors of education of this academic generation, it is history which they widely believe has a moral resolution to any challenge bedevilling the student community. History is embedded in retrospection and is relayed to the present generation so that their academic political archives may have something to store. Having been promised heaven and persuaded to vote for the Student Representative Council in October 2016, one would hardly believe that he or she wasted his or her vote by endorsing the incumbent SRC the most ever docile student leadership to have existed at Nust.
In respect of the historical order that is usual told in chronological format, let us look at the previous SRCs how they performed during their time in office. History has chances of it getting distorted and I will not go back too far. Let’s start from the 2013 to 2014 academic year at Nust. The Nust SRC leadership was headed by Lucky Muza deputised by Mark Mabvumba. Not long did the short statured SRC president did prove that as his name sounded, it was real “luck” that he found himself occupying the biggest student office at Nust. It was unfortunate for Nust students as the then President, adopted an insensitive political bravura towards the students’ interests. The Muza executive was famous for lavish panache, gluttonous, larceny and policy barrenness. Most memorable is the 2013-2014 second semester academic year strike that lasted for three good weeks for parallel class students without lectures. Instead of standing for students in their time of need, Muza and his lieutenants went into hiding. Credit at this moment went to Farai Mtelisi, Rodwell Nyika et al who together with other militant students staged a historical demonstration that compelled the administration to act within 24 hours, and lectures for parallel students resumed then on. As fear infested, Muza led administration sensed calm at campus emerged from exile and the man was luck to survive an impeachment. The purchase of the “Subaru” as reported by the then Wiki leaks; struck the row nerve of some sections of students little did they know that the President had become an honest administration stooge. Allegations of funds abuse were levelled against Muza but he strongly denied any dishonest with the students funds, however, it was no coincidence that he went on to host a colourful wedding with some students alleging that he financed his wedding with the students funds he had smuggled from students coffers. Here is a brief but painful confession from one of his lieutenants as we were walking down the Mandela avenue in Harare a few days ago, Paye taidya mari vakomana, mastudents akapusa, laphana sasisidla imali madoda, amastudents ayizithutha, (that time we were squandering money too bad, students are fools) recalled Costa; the secretary general in Muza’s administration by then. I felt guilty of myself to form a company with a thief as stories of corruption were narrated in a heroic and celebrated tone, I was pierced off, we parted ways at the main post office , just before crossing Julius Nyerere heading to Copacabana. It is also during Muza era that Nust recorded the majority of deferred students as they fail to clear their dues. One thing good that can be remembered about Muza, was his ground love for students although some alleged that he was bent towards female academics. 2013-14 season ended and Muza and company exited Nust and handed over power to Shadowlite Ndou deputised by Nelson Gwarare.
The Shadowlite administration came into office when things were upside down caused by the outgoing Muza administration. Shadowlite and Gwarare’s leadership started on a rough page as the then acting dean of students Ms Magida and Shadowlite had a bad blood. Regardless of that being a huge obstacle, the Shadowlite leadership endured hard times of the opening days. Few days down the line, Ndou, as an innovative student leader proposed a bus levy for students so that students will have their own bus. The former SRC leader did not stop there, he went further to propose for the need to transfer students medical aid from CIMAS to Heritage medial aid insurer since the former had a record of dishonouring the contract. As if it was not enough, Shadow administration went further to stand for students during their registration and subsequent writing of examinations. Very few students deferred their studies during Shadow era.
Towards the end of term for Mr Ndou and his executive, regardless of the man having started on a high note, drama started to unfold as allegations of students funds surfaced. In his memoirs, he recalled that it was the 2015 21st February Movement held in Victoria Falls where hell broke loose. Shadow and his girlfriend Locardia (surname not provided), were alleged to have booked an executive room in Victoria Falls for themselves and the two were alleged to have good time together the whole night. Some reports from the Wiki-Leaks alleged that Shadow had slept with two of his girlfriends in the executive room in Victoria Falls as his threesome pictures went viral on social media. The story did not end there, Shadowlite was further alleged that he had starved students in Voctoria Falls as he bought them $1.00 priced sadza. “Mu UBA kana mu USA anofanira kudya sadza redhora, rine beans, ko handiti ndini Prsident”, this story was shared by one of his lieutenants who gave this information on anonymous basis.
The big story, however, reads as “Had Shadowlite managed the zip area, he would have been recorded as one of the SRC successful Presidents at Nust”. It happened the other way round though. The achievements he made should and cannot be erased easily from the memories of the present and graduated students.
Shadowlite came and go, then Nust students in historic numbers endorsed Rodwell Tendai Nyika deputised by Thamsanqa Ndlovu as their Presidium for the 2015 to 2016 academic year. Having campaigned with the “TAB” manifesto, the young political genius revived student activism of the past. Nyika administration embarked on acting on Ndou’s proposals and also modified some of the proposals for practicability sake.
Nyika administration scored as they managed to bring a student bus for the first time in the history of Nust. They did not stop there, they also successfully transferred student medical aid from CIMAS to Heritage medical aid insurer only to be lately betrayed by the bursar’s office that failed to channel funds to secure services for students. It is up until today, that the Bursar is failing to explain where the money for students’ medical aid is. With unstoppable lieutenants like Samuel Meso, Nyika‘s administration worked to restore the militant student activism as they regularly took the activism to students.
In one of the historic achievements, Nyika’s administration scored was of registering more than 700 students in a day. It is a memorable victory that cannot be easily erased from historical books.
However, history is continuously revealing that there is no SRC that is immune to sickness, morally, hunger for power and financially. Nyika’s administration was marred by political differences and it is such differences that held this administration back. Soon after the elections, a fight for positions ensued. As a constitutional darling, Nyika observed the stipulations of the constitution hoping that his closest ally; Samule Meso would win. The results proved otherwise and Meso lost to Knowledge Dube for the secretary general post.
It took time for Nyika and Ndlovu’s administration to come to terms with the outcome and this stood in their way as an administration, otherwise it is the administration that deserves a round of applause as you read this part. Just like any SRC at Nust, allegations of corruption were levelled against Nyika and Ndlovu administration. However, documents showed otherwise, up until proven guilty Nyika and Ndlovu’s hands seem to be clean so far. Like their predecessors, Nyika and Ndlovu’s administration ended on a bad note as the organised Sulumani Chimbetu gig fail to materialise much to the disappointments of students.
Pass the button, October 2016 period told Nyika’s administration, power was handed over to Terency Shoko and Dumisani Masuku administration having been separated by 51 votes, the only election where the winner and the runner up came close with such a figure. Prior to elections, a lot of drama unfolded and it was unpredictable. The outcome was the most unexpected. It was a heavily contested election that saw 13 participants gunning for the top job.
It took not more than two weeks for a free soap opera in the small August House to show off. On the day for executive elections, it emerged from the former SRC secretary general; Knowledge Dube that chaos erupted when Mzingaye Ndlovu dismally lost the secretary general post to Billy Muchipisi. Mzingaye, the longstanding Shoko’s ally contested the outcome and drama started.
In a bid to bring sanity to the August House, the dean of students Doctor Kamusoko called the legal proctor to explain to the SRC members how to apply the constitution when electing the executive. Thanks to live tweets from Costa Nkomo, students were given live updates on what was transpiring in the boardroom. I followed the updates with enthusiasm, but then it was Costa’s tweet that struck my nerve, “President and Mzingaye left the boardroom, Masuku assumes Presidency, Impeachment for President Looms”. What happened then that Mzingaye is still the secretary general when he lost elections in a day light, is a debate for another day.
It took less than a month before a bad blood between the dean of students and the presidium erupted. It emerged that Shoko and Masuku denied $80.00 priced suits for their participation at the graduation ceremony in November 2016 and demanded doubled priced suits. The dean is reported to have refused their demands. How they managed to squeeze themselves all the way and convinced the Bursar’s office need to be investigated.
Notwithstanding the suits saga, Shoko and Masuku recorded a historic success of registering more than 800 students who were on the verge of deferring their studies in November 2016 and subsequently all students owing outstanding fees balances managed to write their examinations without challenges.
Barely two months after the graduation ceremony saga, was the presidium implicated in another storm. The Zanu PF People’s conference held in December 2016 invited the SRC and allegations are that the presidium demanded a tripled of the allowance they should have got. Why the Bursar gave in to these demands is another subject for another day.
January 2017 opened with another storm in the current SRC. The ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education is understood to have invited the SRC executive members to a meeting in Harare. It emerged that the SRC executive threatened to cancel the meeting if the dean refused to approve their tripled allowance. The bursar’s office is alleged to have succumbed to the demands of the executive and money from students’ coffers was given.
It also emerged that the present SRC executive reversed a finalised document to purchase a mini bus for students citing that they as a current SRC will be credited for buying a mini bus compared to Nyika and Ndlovu who bought a big bus. So the mini bus which was intended to ferry students from campus to library is no longer coming as the document was reversed by Shoko and Masuku administration.
Drama seem to keep on unfolding in the current SRC as it emerged that at the Annual General meeting held in February the executive abused students coffers as they squandered money taking advantage that they had bought students lunch pegged at $1 each. The SRC executive should be hold to account for their failure to bring transparency on what transpired at the annual general meeting. How many students attended, and how much did the bursar released for the annual general meeting journalists need to help me to investigate this story.
While the “Minister Mahendere” event was a success, it goes without saying that robbery in the house of the Lord will never be tolerated. The executive is understood to have gathered money from non-students attendees at the Gospel concert and shared it amongst themselves. “This what we call political entrepreneurship, this is how we make money,” the executive member retorted when asked by the security guard what was the money to be used for.
This is the only SRC to leave the Nust, without policy enactment, not even affording a tent for students to take shelter when reading outside. No achievement. One months and few days to go, very disappointing leadership at Nust. What has Shoko and Masuku administration did for Nust students? Lo okuthwa nguShoko udla le admin, ‘Idzi dzinonzi Shoko dzinenge dzinodya ne admin’, The Balcony’s view takes a breather.