At least three students at Kwekwe Polytchnic College were last week arrested after they tried to disrupt proceedings at the institution’s 36th graduation ceremony by waving placards, denouncing the principal, Mr Evans Musara.
Police in anti-riot gear had to be called in and were involved in running battles with the violent students who were calling for the resignation of Mr Musara, whom they accused of failing to handle the examination process properly.
About three demonstrating students were apprehended, while others managed to escape.
In interviews, the students said they were aggrieved by the principals’ stance of withholding some of their results.
“The reason why students are protesting is because the majority of them are not graduating today because the principal decided to withhold results, saying there was a lot of cheating during the examinations,” said one student only identified as Milton.
He said the institution’s authorities had to call the police as students continued to interject, while denouncing the principal during the graduation ceremony.
“The proceeding were halted for nearly an hour as the police were involved in running battles with the protesting students, some were arrested but some managed to escape,” said Mr Musara.
Mr Musara confirmed the disturbances at the institution and thanked the police for moving in swiftly to restore order.
He said the protesting students were trying to fight him over a case which was before the courts.
“The matter involving the students who were caught cheating is before the courts and is beyond our control,” said Mr Musara. “It’s unfortunate, however, that there are some unruly elements who want to ride on that and tarnish the image of the institution.
“Since the matter is now in the hands of the police, I cannot comment any further and wait for the law to take its course.”
Meanwhile, 1 209 students graduated with certificates and diplomas.
In a speech read on his behalf by director of universities in the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Mrs Martha Muguti, Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said Government was introducing innovation hubs at colleges and universities.
“You will be pleased to note that my ministry has adopted one of Kwekwe Polytechnic’s innovation hubs. We have a small grain thresher and winnower for small grains which is spearheaded by my ministry to fight hunger and poverty through the production of seed varieties that are compatible to our climate,” said Prof Murwira.
He said as a strategically positioned institution in a city with the highest industrial density in the country, Kwekwe Polytechnic should take a leading role in starting industries.
“The ministry’s philosophy is that Kwekwe Polytechnic and other institutions of higher learning alike should develop, redesign and start industries,” he said.