Students blasts army over MSU rampage

NATIONAL students’ union ZINASU has lashed out at Zimbabwe Military Academy (ZMA) officers who attacked Midlands State University (MSU) students on campus describing the incident as a violation of academic freedom.

According to Zinasu, at least 13 students were left injured last Saturday during the incident—allegedly in vengeance over the thrashing of their colleague over a prostitute.

The officers ambushed the students during a planning meeting for a fees must fall protest that was scheduled to take place at the university.

Zinasu spokesperson Zivai Mhetu said, according to various academic freedom international declarations, it was not permissible for the police or armed forces to enter into institutions of higher learning except in special circumstances.

“Such declarations as the Lima and Kampala declarations on academic freedom are very clear that except when expressly invited by the Head of a tertiary institution or when there is clear present or imminent danger to human life or property on campus, no police, military, intelligence or paramilitary personnel should individually or collectively enter into institutions of higher learning,” Mhetu said last week.

He added that the reason for such provisions was to avoid the culture of fear that is associated with the presence of state security personnel in institutions of higher learning.

“When the police, intelligence operatives and soldiers enter institutions of higher learning willy-nilly, it creates a culture of fear that curtails the free dissemination of information on campus thus preventing students and lecturers from enjoying their academic freedom.”

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) said the incident it was disturbed by the reports of violence by soldiers on students for merely planning a protest.

“Such an act constitutes a serious violation of human rights as well as a disturbing attitude towards educational rights and the rights of students to freely express themselves by the authorities,” said ZimRights.

Zinasu claims that about 800 university students failed to register for the current semester as they failed to meet the high tuition fees in this troubled economy.

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