On July 9 2007, Levi Nyagura, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe gave thirty minutes to 4258 unsuspecting students to vacate their halls of residence or face being tear#-gassed. Indeed, students scurried out of the halls of residence uncertain of their destination as most of them were from out of Harare. This was two weeks before end of semester and end of year exams. Resultantly some students who were unable to find accommodation had to skip these crucial exams. Others went through a harrowing time, susceptible to vagaries of staying on the streets and or with strangers. The argument given by Nyagura then was that students had embarked on a demonstration and the institution had to be closed for security reasons. The Minister of higher and tertiary education also mentioned this in parliament even accusing the Students Christian Movement of Zimbabwe of being behind these demonstrations.
In recent times however, Nyagura’s tune has changed and is now citing lack of proper sanitation as a reason for closure of the halls of residence. He has accused parliament and government of neglect as he says the water situation is the reason why halls of residence are closed. This contradicts the previous statements and utterances of a security concern.
This deceit by Nyagura has meant government and other partners have not been able to intervene in the most efficient of ways in resolving the students’ crisis. As government’s point person he is supposed to accurately report to the minister and not make political statements. The need to rehabilitate the University of Zimbabwe has been always there for some time. The structures are falling apart and this applies to the library and other structures at the institution.
In addition, the administrative structures at the institution also need to see new administrators. The parent ministry should look at ensuring that the University has efficient managers who should not only concentrate on saving ZANU PF’s political skin but deliver the best for the institution. Despite the rebound in the economy of Zimbabwe, the lecturer to student ratio is still a worrying point with other courses having been suspended due to lack of personnel.
Students demand and deserve a space-age university which as modern leaders who are above petty political shackles. The twenty-first century has no place for people like Nyagura who continue to play to the political gallery at the expense of a quality education for the more than fifteen thousand enrolled students at the institution he is misleading and mismanaging.Post published in: Politics