Zim graduation protest students hauled before disciplinary committee - Lawyers

2016-10-19 08:50

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Harare - Three students who took part in a peaceful protest at their University of Zimbabwe graduation ceremony last month have been summoned to a disciplinary hearing for behaving in a way that might harm the university's interests, rights lawyers said on Tuesday.

Dressed in his academic robes, Tonderai Dombo held up a placard demanding jobs in front of graduating students - and President Robert Mugabe - on September 29. Two other students also protested, according to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

They have been named as Thembinkosi Rushwaya and Alexander Mukamba. The three were arrested and released on payment of a 10 US admission of guilt fine.

But the university has revived the case, just as Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo insinuated the institution might when the protest occurred.

Street protests 

ZLHR said the university claimed the protest breached a rule of student conduct known as Ordinance 30 which forbids behaviour "reasonably likely to be harmful to the interests of the univerity, members of the university staff or students." 

Longtime leader Mugabe, 92, is chancellor of the university, which controversially awarded his wife Grace a doctorate in 2014 after a reported three months of study.

Sparked by Harare pastor Evan Mawarire's impassioned outburst on social media in April, Zimbabwe's rolling street protests have slowed now. 

Dombo and his colleagues' silent protest was one of the last acts of public defiance that occurred in a country battered by rising unemployment, corruption and economic malaise. Mugabe promised more than two million jobs ahead of elections in 2013, but the vast majority of Zimbabweans are employed in the informal sector, often in trading.

Tweeted one Zimbabwean on Tuesday in response to a question from a journalist as to what had happened to the protests: "People are weary of expressing their weariness maybe."

Read more on:    jonathan moyo  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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