Tag Archives: Zimbabwe

by Costa Nkomo

THE two leading national student bodies, ZIMBABWE Congress of Student Union (ZICOSU) and Zimbabwe National Student Union (ZINASU) faced off at University of Zimbabwe (UZ) last Friday battling for the Student Representative Council (SRC) leadership, an annual electoral exercise conducted at higher learning institutions.

ZINASU’s five year record at the helm of the UZ (SRC), came to a dramatic end as ZICOSU romped to victory through their representative Stephen Tsikirayi who garnered 33.5 percent with 1 468 votes. Tawanda Bvudzijena, representing ZINASU came second with 23.6 percent as he got 1036 votes.

University of Zimbabwe SRC Presidential Contestants.

CANDIDATE

NAME OF CANDIDATE

REG NUMBER

VOTES

A

KAMBARAMI TAKUNDA

R159467C

136

B

KASEKE FANUEL

R168683W

337

C

MUBOKO PHILIP

R141875Q

490

D

NGWENYA MONGIWABESUTHU

R156923X

921

E

TSIKIRAYI STEPHEN

T.

R145809X

1468

F

VUDZIJENA

TAWANDA

R158952B

1034

This development has been construed as a precursor to the national election to be held next year (2018). Some students said a win for ZICOSU forestalls the outcome of the next year general elections.

Takudzwa Gambiza, ZICOSU national president understood the outcome of the UZ SRC election as predictive to the next year’s general elections.

“It shows that that the negative perception towards the ruling party is slowly fading away and the students’ community is sending a clear message that the youthful community is aware of the political landscape and they are also aware of where the future of their country is”, said Gambiza.

A pulsating Nust Democratic Alliance for Academics (DAA) President, Cris Rateiwa said: “When Zicosu wins, Zanu Pf will win”.

“The reason being that, the students shunned elections at UZ, therefore they can also do the same next year much to their disadvantage” said Rateiwa.

Rateiwa lashed at ZICOSU and ZINASU saying, the two main student wings in Zimbabwe are preoccupied with satisfying the interests of mainstream political parties, Zanu PF and MDC respectively. “Most of those who win SRC positions are puppets. Once their term of office expired, their contribution to the mainstream politics is no longer important and they are dumped.”

However, the incumbent Nust SRC president differed with Rateiwa as to him student politics is strictly meant to cultivate political aspirations of the students at higher learning through various engagements without an intention of serving the interests of external politics.

“I understand that the main philosophy behind any election has little to do with any particular political party than it has with the relevant constituencies”, said Shoko. “Whether democrat or republican, the right to choose remains with the students and in the case of UZ, the students have spoken and we have to respect and trust their decision”.

ZICOSU victory at UZ has attracted debates among students community as some argue that it shows the death of student activism in Zimbabwe and that no more meaningful contribution should be expected from the student activism to national political transformation.

Former (NUST) SRC organising secretary general, Samuel Meso said while Zinasu is now an adhocracy, Zicosu victory shows that student politics has lost relevance with time.

“Student activism is confirmed dead and buried”, said Meso. “Student activism in Zimbabwe needs a catharsis and a new rebirth”

Former UZ SRC president, Gift Ostallos Siziba also weighed in as he said, “UZ used to be an island of democracy, now if you go there you meet the devil exorcising demons, it’s sad.” Said Ostallos Gift Siziba, former UZ SRC president.

Meanwhile, when contacted to establish his feeling, President Elect, Stephen Tsikirayi said, “It’s just great, I’m just having it” before hanging the phone.

ZINASU and ZICOSU have been formed to attract students at higher learning institutions. ZINASU operates under MDC .T, while ZICOSU is believed to be aligned to Zanu PF. It is for this reason that some students say student political action under these two main wings have become docile and partisan and therefore inapt to national meaningful political contributions.

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SRC EXECUTIVE IN RETROSPECT: BALCONY’S VIEW

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.

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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.

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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.

Journalism Students Outdo SRC.

Costa Nkomo

National University of Science and Technology (NUST) students in the department of Journalism and Media Studies in collaboration with their departmental lecturers donated to Marula cyclone Dineo victims in Mangwe district last Friday, an initiative the Student Representative Council never dreamt of.

The cyclone Dineo left a lot of destruction in the country as many people were left homeless when houses were swept away especially in Matebeleland where some people have been relocated and that they are in dire need of help.

It is the duty of the SRC to partner with students to engage into civic engagement activities as a way of giving back to the community. One of the objectives of the SRC outlined in the preamble of the student union constitution is to create peace and a culture of unity which can be attained through engaging communities where students’ parents and guardians are living.

Students who brought Marula villagers donations understand that Nust does not live in isolation and therefore students’ leaders should take a leaf and step up civic engagement as they are still many victims who are in dire need of assistance.

“Nust does not exists in isolation, it exists within a community where we as students come from so we have to engage with the community especially when disasters face our village homes” said Farai Kwesha. “ SRC should take this as an example and try to do develop strategies of raising resources among the students for donations for this is the opportunity for them to shine, we also believe that engaging the communities headed by our SRC, we will make a huge impact and impression”

Student donated groceries ranging from soap, sugar, rice, cooking oil among other many items. Donations were also given in the form of money and clothes.

The most beneficiaries of the student donations were the elderly people particular Mr Mkhulunyelwa Moyo and Sinkiwe Ndlovu who their hut they were living in was brought to the ground by the cyclone. The couple is 88 and 71 years respectively.

Some students took a swipe at the present SRC for being preoccupied with organising parties yet civic engagement should top their priority when disasters like cyclone Dineo hit the communities.

“This SRC need civil engagement orientation”, said Sineke Sibanda. “We understand that there might be limited resources on their part, but there are so many ways of raising resources that the representatives can embark on, we as students we just went into students and can you imagine what we managed to gather as Journalism department , just us and our lecturers ? What more if the SRC was involved? The key problem is that the SRC always think of bashes nothing else”

Meanwhile, Marula villagers expressed joy on students’ visit to their community. They appreciated groceries from students and thanked Mr Clayton Moyo who accompanied students to Marula village. The villagers also said the cyclone Dineo destroyed their crops and some livestock.

The After Life

The semester is ending; I am almost done with the examinations.

Been boggled about what is next,

What next after university.

What should one be doing as they wait anxiously for the final results that will determine whether they will graduate or not….

Well, it is now more about the title and graduating that matters most than the life after that because still, it is unknown.

The economy has managed to play that part quite well,

No companies to accommodate us all,

No stable economy,

No JOBS!!!

The song has been sung over and over but still no jobs.

 

It is a feeling filled up with mixed emotions for most part fours, at least most of my colleagues.

It is nice to finish varsity because of the stressful assignments but then what next…

Most companies are not employing, story of every Zimbabwean.

Staying at home and just waiting is not ideal also.

Year in and year out thousands graduate and most graduates only hope for a better future.

Amidst the uncertainties of life hope is not lost, hope that our government will eventually act and do something to cater for the thousands of unemployed graduates around Zimbabwe.

But just like the afterlife, it remains unknown…

 

 

 

 

 

RESOURCES TO DEAL WITH SEXUAL HARASSMENT ON CAMPUS

by Tam’sanqa Mhepoh | @campusmoments | Interactive post

To end this blog series on sexual harassment on campus, here is a curated list of resources, ranging from multi-media, social media posts, online publications and press reports. These are to help you further understand this problem and how to possibly deal with it.

Sexual Harassment has been in the news over the first quarter of 2017. Citing a  baseline survey conducted by the Female Students Network of Zimbabwe published in 2016, reports say that between 74  and 98 percent of female students in the country’s tertiary institutions have been victims of this abuse. The culprits are male lecturers, male non academic staff and male students.

What is disturbing though is that victims do not recognize instances of abuse and if they do, they may not know where or how to seek redress. Go ahead, empower yourself with these resources below:

  1. Multi-media 

Flirting or Hurting. (DVD)

Even for adults, it can be challenging to figure out what actions and words constitute flirting and what behaviors cross the boundaries into sexual harassment. For middle schoolers, who are just making their entry into a more complex social world, these distinctions are often beyond their grasp. This program uses a blend of realistic dramatic scenarios, on-screen narrators and a round table discussion featuring real students to show young viewers the difference between real flirting (welcome, wanted, respectful and fun) and hurting (unwelcome, unwanted, one-sided, makes you feel bad). Viewers learn what it means to cross the line—whether in person, through texting or on-line—and are reminded of the serious consequences for both the target and the harasser. Helpful “flirting” tips are offered by an expert as well as advice on how to react to behaviors that are not appropriate or welcome.

Includes:

video, plus teacher’s resource book, student handouts and pre/post tests in digital format

available from : http://www.hrmvideo.com

2. #ThatsHarassment :

Social media campaign

Based on true stories, the short films illustrate various environments in which harassment occurs: a bar, photography studio and television show set, as well as the doctor’s, lawyer’s and politician’s offices. Here’s a blog with a commentary for you to understand why exactly all the scenarios are harassment. I’ve included one for this sample video.

What happens in the consent violation? A young model is posing for a photo shoot in front of a number of people. The photographer repeatedly tells her to touch herself and then repeatedly tells her to touch her genitals under her jeans. Eventually she complies and then he tells her to do it more. After a while he takes more pictures and then finishes by saying he has an erection from watching her.

Continue reading RESOURCES TO DEAL WITH SEXUAL HARASSMENT ON CAMPUS

Talk of Unification of Rival Student Unions

By Francis Mukora

News in recent weeks of the signing of memorandums of understanding (MOUs) between the major opposition political parties in Zimbabwe to form a coalition which will see them fielding one candidate to battle the ruling ZANU PF party candidate President Robert Mugabe in the 2018 elections precipitated questions pertaining to whether a similar arrangement can be made within the student body politic whereby the two largest student unions, Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) and Zimbabwe College Students Union (ZICOSU) would agree to a similar arrangement of morphing into a body pursuing the collective goal of improving the welfare of students at Zimbabwe’s tertiary institutions.

I think it will be a good move because it will ensure that student issues, which are their core mandate, become central to student politics while relegating national politics to the periphery,” said former ZINASU president Clever Bere.

Since the turn of the millennium, various critics had pointed out that student activism had lost vibrancy and effectiveness after becoming engrossed in national politics.

They (students unions) are so much politically aligned, such that they have ceased to represent the wishes of the students but their political masters,” noted Themba Mliswa who is a Zimbabwean legislator and founder of a youth organization called Youth Advocacy for Reform and Democracy (YARD).

A year ago, his organization, YARD had taken the initiative for such a coalition as in April 2016 Mliswa Sought to Unite Students by facilitating the unification of the two rival bodies into a single union primarily seeking to serve students interests.

Both unions were reportedly warming up to the idea as then ZICOSU interim president Howard Madya declared that, “We no longer want to report to CIOs or ZANU PF or MDC and we no longer want to be controlled by any political party or politician who wants to advance their political agendas.”

The initiative seemed to excite even the ordinary students like Busi Ncube, a final year student at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) who said that such a move would show unity of purpose among their leaders and will motivate most students to take them more seriously.

However, more than a year later, nothing concrete has materialized giving credence to doomsayers who had initially dismissed such an idea as a pipedream given the allegiance of ZINASU and ZICOSU to bitter political rival, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and ZANU PF respectively.

As long as the two student unions continue to take instructions from Harvest House and Shake Shake building, such a coalition will remain nothing more than a dream,” said political analyst and former ZINASU spokesperson, Blessing Vava.

Maybe the outcome of the 2018 elections will help to shape the future of such an envisaged coalition of ZINASU and ZICOSU because if the opposition parties coalition triumphs against ZANU PF, the students unions will be motivated to adopt the similar approach in search of victory for student activism. However, if the coalition fails, there will be no motivation for such unification.