By Grant Tabvurei
The January 2008 Bi-Annual Congress which saw the election of the Bere-led national executive council had among its resolutions that ZINASU shall support the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai in the harmonized elections which were to be held in March of that same year.
This was not out of the love for the MDC party and the people in it, neither was it the obsession of seeing Mugabe and his party’s exit. The question that lingers in students’ heads today about their input towards the March 2008 elections is ‘Was it worth it?’
It was on the basis of the oral social contract that the MDC-T was to put forward the students’ issues. Tuition and fees are rising rapidly with a student at the Chinhoyi University of Technology expected to fork out at least US$600 for a semester and the diabolic University Act is still being used by authorities to suppress the students’ voice.
It would not come as a shock that our fellow ‘allies’ have changed goal posts and now see it proper and fit for students to pay fees.
The unavailability of the two ministries that of Finance and of higher education last week on Friday to explain themselves to the students’ community was enough evidence that higher education is no longer of priority to the government of the present day.
Members of ZINASU were even shocked by the utterances by a legislator (name not worth mentioning) of MDC-T who is part of the parliamentary portfolio committee on higher education when she was boasting about students no longer being barred from writing exams over arrears, of which the contrary was happening.
The ‘allies’ that we continuously refer to in particular the trade union bodies and other members of the CSO community are silent on these issues affecting the students’ community such as victimization of student activists, exorbitant fees, poor learning materials amongst a host of other things.
Who really are the allies of students in the present day Zimbabwe? Are we regarded as allies only when our fellow colleagues need our services?
The situation that presents itself to the students of Zimbabwe today shows really that they are on their own? Autarky has been proven not to be a viable solution and it takes courage and wisdom to clearly distinguish who are our allies and those that are not.
It would be a mere waste of time to relate to people who do not respect us for we are, but see the students’ community as a form of cheap labour, assist them in fattening their pockets at the expense of what the struggle is all about and other ulterior motives.
The anguish that students carry across the four corners of the country is that our fellow ‘allies’ you have betrayed our friendship and trust in you. We would want to see the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and other CSOs’ voicing on how the government spends money on higher education as other social delivery services because you are the taxpayers, that is what allies are for.
The government has failed to respond to the plight of the students, our ‘colleagues’ in government we are fully aware that it is a government of compromise but you cannot sacrifice your fellow comrades who have been a pillar of support through thick and thin.
Grant Tabvurei is the National Spokesman for the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU)
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