Tag Archives: Nust SRC

STUDENT ACTIVISM UNDER SIEGE

Midlands State University (MSU) suspended three students  activists who wrote an ultimatum to the university authorities demanding answers following the university’s failure to protect students from allegedly assault by soldiers late March this year.

By Costa Nkomo

Soldiers were reported to have descended at MSU campus and went on rampage randomly assaulting students in what was reported as a revenge mission when one of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) was assaulted by a group of students as a result of misunderstanding over a Gweru city woman. https://www.newsday.co.zw/2017/03/28/soldiers-rampage-msu/.

It has been more than a month since the students were issued with suspension letters. These   include Munyaradzi Rwushwaya Chuma, Archbold Madida and Ashlegh Pfunye. The three are accused of generating and circulating subversive material via social media platforms.  

When called for disciplinary hearing on the 20th of April, the trio were accompanied by Human Rights Lawyers team led by Advocate Lizwe Jamela. In defence of the trio, Advocate Jamela cited the national constitution section 59 and 61 that when read together permit the accused to demonstrate, petition and freely express themselves.

“They failed to charge us since the charges they were levelling against us were a direct violation of the section 59 and 61 of the constitution of Zimbabwe according to advocate Jamela” said Rushwaya.

The trio appeared in a in a second disciplinary hearing on Monday and the university for the second time is alleged to have failed to settle the case.  It, emerged that the MSU legal proctor was not fully prepared for the case subsequently leading to the matter being moved to 24 April (yesterday).  

“They mentioned that they were not aware of these legalities in defence” added Rushwaya. “So they said they want time to go and prepare the case”.

Meanwhile, University of Zimbabwe (UZ) Student Representative Council (SRC) President, Tinomutenda Mhungu implored student leadership from all universities in Zimbabwe to stand behind Rwushaya and company during  trial.

“As the process reaches a tipping point today, we reach out to the MSU, Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT), National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Bindura University of Science (BUSE), Africa University (AU) and Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) communities to have these revolutionaries in their prayers as an injustice to one is an injustice to all” said Mhungu.

MSU student leadership including their ring leader, Jorum Mukono, is being accused of playing second fiddle to the administration, dumping students who elected them in the previous election.  

“The SRC here at MSU is dysfunctional, it’s as good as nothing” said a student who requested anonymity. “The way they are quite about our plight persuades us to dissolve the whole SRC so that we live without it”.

Efforts to get the MSU SRC president Mr Mukono were fruitless as his mobile failed to get through. No comment was obtained  from university authorities as there was no response when contacted.

Instilling fear has been the customary subterfuge university authorities employ to silence  dissenting student voices. Zimbabwean universities have a shared tendency of issuing suspension letters to students who actively participate in politics. (See) http://thezimbabwean.co/2007/11/three-more-student-leaders-suspended-at-nust/

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Female Student Politics Ennui

By Costa Nkomo

https://www.google.co.zw/search?q=margaret+thatcher+images&espv=2&biw=1600&bih=882&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwidyP-5_MPSAhVnCMAKHUITDe0QsAQIFw&dpr

Despite efforts in some quarters of the globe to empower women by way of giving them equal rights with their male counter parts political historical trend shows that masculinity remains dominant in the politics of the new millennium. Globally, regionally and nationally, women participation in politics is still at an embryonic stage. Global female leaders like the late Margaret Thatcher have left a mark in the global political history. Today, Thatcher’s legacy is being carried forward by female politicians like Theresa May in Britain http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-margaret-thatcher-uk-prime-minister-a7156261.html. , Marine Le Pen in France, and Angela Merkel in Germany among others.

However, in Africa it is a different story as women are still closed out of crucial political positions consenting to the prolongation of masculine domination in politics. In reference to Zimbabwe as a case study, historical nature of politics has been pointed out as a major impediment for women to stand up and make an impact in the political realm. Despite some few figures who took part in the historical liberation struggle like Joyce Mujuru, women apathy with politics has also cascaded to the female students at higher learning institutions. Major universities such as University of Zimbabwe (UZ), National University of Science and Technology (NUST) and Midlands State University (MSU) have a history of male dominated politics with very few female students taking part.

Former Nust Student Union President, Rodwell Nyika alluded that fear is the major antecedent that water down female students from taking part in student politics. Nyika alleged that citizens have a visceral fear with politics given its historic nature in Africa with Zimbabwe being of no exception.

The first version in a general form is where we talk of abject visceral fear emanating from victimisation and fear of the unknown to participate in politics as the political nature in Zimbabwe and Africa alike has proven to be violent and this is the major impediment.”

Former Nust student, corporate speaker and a columnist in the Standard newspaper, Sithandekile Magida, hold a different opinion as to why female students have little interest in assuming leadership positions. She took a swipe at the nature of the present day Student Representative Council (SRC) at higher learning institutions that it has been lately associated with a bunch of rowdy young male academics.

SRC image need to be revamped because female students do not want to be seen as rowdy to be vocal and to be out of line”, said Magidha.

Some female students have cited lack of female political role models at national level as a demotivating factor for them to view politics at University level as a valuable field to pursue. Unlike the European female politicians like the late Margaret Thatcher, in Africa; Zimbabwe alike is a different context.

Bathabile Dlamini, a Journalism and Media Studies student said: “At a national level we do not have female politicians who can act as role models to the young girls, so you found out that most female students feel that politics is a male game as it is given a male face.”

Dumisani Masuku, Nust SRC Vice President added that it is high time female students rise up and fully participate in the student politics to prove their value. He said he is convinced that female students have competence to change the way things are done in politics at university level.

At Nust it is a question of the females themselves to stand up and realise how much valuable are they in the political terrain”, said Masuku.

The African culture has been alleged as an obstacle for female students to rise in politics as it subordinates them. It is a culture that views women as second class citizens and it teaches them to be submissive to men.

The cultural set up that is with us here in Zimbabwe and Africa do not give female students freedom to exercise power starting at higher learning institutions”, said Muposi Kudzai, a student in the Library and Information science department.

Some students are calling for a constitutional amendment that reserves certain seats in the SRC for female students so that they are motivated enough to partake in student politics.

Higher learning institutions have lately been credited for breeding powerful politicians like Nelson Chamisa, et al.

The female students should take a leaf from the European iron ladies and start making their voices heard in student politics. They need to develop courage and confidence to stand up in the political filed as it is an arena where they can contribute heavily for their empowerment through enacting policies that directly speak to their interests at large.