UZ student set free over fees hike protest

THE University of Zimbabwe (UZ) has set free a student, who was charged with misconduct in connection with a demonstration held at the institution last year, after making a determination that he was not guilty.

23 year-old Kudakwashe Guta was summoned to appear before the UZ Student Disciplinary
Committee on Friday 27 April 2018 to answer to charges of breaching the university’s rules of conduct.
During the disciplinary hearing, UZ authorities alleged that Guta, a political science student at the
university, who was represented by Denford Halimani and Kuzivakwashe Ngodza of Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights, participated in a demonstration held on 26 June 2017 led by some medical
students, who protested against the arbitrary hiking of fees.

In the course of the demonstration, UZ authorities charged that Guta incited violence on university
premises by urging fellow students to insult and physically attack security personnel. The university
authorities said Guta’s alleged conduct was in breach of some sections of Ordinance 30 as he had no
right to do so.

Oddly, the UZ authorities’ decision to haul Guta to appear before a disciplinary hearing came at a time
when he was recently acquitted by Harare Magistrate Victoria Mashamba after standing trial on
charges of public violence as defined in section 36(1) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, where he was represented by Ngodza after he was arrested by Zimbabwe Republic Police officers in June 2017 following the UZ protest.

On Friday 11 May 2018, the UZ Student Disciplinary Committee chaired by Dr Madzikanda exonerated
Guta of any misconduct after making a finding that the student had not incited violence at the institution but had tried to mediate between some UZ security personnel and the protesting medical students.

The UZ Student Disciplinary Committee noted that the testimony given by one witness Walter
Mukunza, who is employed as a security personnel at the institution, was not acceptable owing to
some inconsistencies.

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