by DANAI MARUMBA and MARCUS MUSHONGA
HARARE, (CAJ News) – ANTI-PRESIDENT Mugabe protests have brought education at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) to a grinding halt.
Authorities at the country’s prime tertiary institution have been forced to postpone the writing of year-end examinations as scholars demand the resignation of beleaguered President Robert Mugabe (93) as well as the revocation of a Doctor of Philosophy Degree (PhD) conferred on First Lady Grace Mugabe three years ago.
The controversial Grace, whose whereabouts remained unknown since the military assumed control of the country, was given a doctoral degree in
sociology in September 2014, two months after entering the programme.
The president, who is University Chancellor, awarded her the degree but her doctoral thesis has never been available in the UZ.
In the wake of the student unrest, UZ Registrar, Dr Noah Ariel Mutongoreni, confirmed in a letter seen by CAJ News that the institution
had with immediate effect ended the semester .
“Please be advised that the University of Zimbabwe will end the current semester about a week earlier with effect from 21 November 2017. End of 2017 Semester Examinations will be conducted during the period 8 January to 24 January 2018 at the same planned venues,” reads a letter signed by
He said students in residence would return and occupy their current rooms for the duration of the examinations at no extra cost.
Tawanda Vhudzijena, the UZ Student Representative Council (SRC) President, denounced Mugabe for awarding his wife the PhD, citing the move as “fraudulent” and “unacceptable.”
He meanwhile disclosed the students had turned down a proposal by authorities to sit for the examinations under watchful eyes of the powerful military.
“Our position is firm. Until President Mugabe steps down, we will not write examinations,” Vhudzijena insisted.
Protests against Mugabe have been commonplace at the UZ, starting in 1988 when students organised a mass demonstration over corruption.
On Tuesday, Zanu-PF, war veterans and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were due to impeach Mugabe in parliament in order to force the veteran leader out of office.
Mugabe has been in power since independence from British rule in 1980.
His political future hit bottom rock last week when the military seized power citing factionalism within the ruling party, caused by his wife Grace and the so-called generation 40 (G-40) faction.
The former freedom fighters accuse Mugabe of violating the constitution by surrendering his presidential duties to his wife, who they claim was
appointing and firing cabinet ministers and party members at will.
The dismissal of Deputy President Emmerson Mnangagwa for allegedly plotting a coup sparked the latest crisis.
Last weekend, thousands of Zimbabweans embarked on a massive protest march demanding Mugabe to resign.
Opposition parties, churches, students, labour unions, civilians and traditional leaders participated in the biggest protests ever against Mugabe.
The veteran leader remains defiant.
– CAJ News