Open letter to President Mugabe

ZINASU notes with dismay the insecurity that engulfs the students of Zimbabwe with respect to the new fees structure, as examinations are pending countrywide and teachers and polytechnic colleges have just opened. Students are suffering alongside Zimbabweans under the current economic crisis. To inc

rease public education fees well beyond the reach of most Zimbabweans at this time is to punish the economically weakest members of society. ZINASU refers the President to his pre-independence promise of free education for all as a fundamental and inalienable human right, a right that must be safeguarded in the constitution.
We inform the President that ZINASU resolved at its recent Congress to continue to reject the new fees, as these are unjustified and beyond the reach of many currently enrolled students. Our view is that charging tuition fees is a reversal of the gains of independence.
ZINASU has requested that the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education clarify to the public whether students that have not yet paid their fees will be admitted into classes, whether they will be admitted into examinations and whether they will be able to access their results after completing such exams. We have also informed the Minister that ZINASU has resolved to boycott lectures after Monday, May 22, 2006 should the issue of fees structures remain unclear and unsatisfactory.
ZINASU is disappointed to inform the President that on Friday, May 4, police arrested and unlawfully detained 51 student leaders at the Congress, all of whom have since been released without charge. On the following Monday, in Bindura, 56 further students have been unlawfully detained, beaten, denied food or water and denied access to legal representation. This alarming escalation of government repression of students for expressing their legitimate concerns exacerbates the feeling among students that their government no longer represents their interest.
The students of Zimbabwe call upon the President to use his authority over the Police Commissioner, the Attorney General, the Minister of Home Affairs and the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education to desist from unlawful detention, beating and harassment of students. We also call upon the President, as the Chancellor of all state universities in Zimbabwe, to reverse the expulsions and suspensions of students for peacefully drawing attention to their economic hardships.
Promise Mkwananzi, President, Zimbabwe National Students Union

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