Residents bemoan examination fees

Residents of Bulawayo have complained that the examination fees announced by the Ministry of Education recently are too high and could pose a problem for poor families. Residents said there was need for the ministry to bear in mind the fact that 75 percent of Zimbabwes population lives below the poverty datum line when coming up with examination fees. They said the fees were tantamount to denying Zimbabweans their right to education.

Many students failed to register to sit for examinations last year but the government has increased the fees this year instead, albeit marginally. Fees for Ordinary level students have been increased from $10 last year to $11 this year while fees for Advanced level students have been increased from $20 last year to $22 this year. The situation is particularly dire for ordinary level students who sit for as many as eight or ten subjects.

Residents wary of police presence

Residents of Bulawayo are concerned by the sudden increase in the numbers of police personnel on patrol in the city centre and in residential areas. Residents say they fear that the increased presence of police could be a mechanism to instil fear in residents ahead of elections projected to take place this year or early next year. This comes at a time when police in Bulawayo have stepped up measures to muzzle freedom of assembly and expression, with institutions and political parties intending to hold gatherings being denied clearance. Residents fear that this state of affairs could compromise the elections as it would be impossible for voter education exercises to take place as long as the police block public gatherings. Residents called on the relevant authorities to take steps to ensure that the rights of Zimbabweans to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression be restored and people allowed to gather.

Improve conditions at holding cells – Residents

Residents have called on the Ministry of Home Affairs to improve conditions at police holding cells as they are inhumane. Residents said it was unfair for suspects locked up in holding cells to be treated like criminals because they would not have been found guilty of whatever crimes they are suspected of having committed. Residents said it was outdated and cruel that holding cell toilets are flushed from the outside in police stations not only in Bulawayo but across the country while blankets are too thin and suspects have to sleep on the floor. Residents also said there was a need for suspects to be given adequate amounts of clean and nutritiously balanced foods while they are incarcerated at police holding cells. They said the current practice whereby suspects are not given food was a gross injustice and in contravention of international human rights standards that Zimbabwe is a signatory to.

Residents Voices Issue 46

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