Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Plot to oust ZINASU leader backfires

By Never Kadungure 

A plot to oust Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) president Clever Bere has backfired with 8 out of 10 executive members pledging their support to him. Only gender secretary Privilege Mutanga and Vice President Brilliant Dube have rebelled. Another rebel student leader Lovemore Chinoputsa is said to have been ousted as Secretary General some time ago in June this year. 

Nehanda Radio can reveal that respected civic society leaders Arnold Tsunga and Jacob Mafume are behind a boardroom campaign to control student affairs in the country. Because they control most of the donor funding for ZINASU Tsunga and Mafume are accused of acting like political godfathers and trying to influence events in the union. 

London based SW Radio Africa pitted Clever Bere and Brilliant Dube who claims to be the new ZINASU president in a radio debate. Bere in the programme claimed they had attempted to replace Tsunga in the board to get someone with new ideas but he resisted the move. Bere said different generations of students could not keep getting advice from the same person. 

During an extra-ordinary general council meeting convened last Saturday Tsunga is said to have flown back into the country and allegedly sponsored thugs who assaulted innocent students daring to back Bere. In one such incident Archford Mudzengi the President of the Zimbabwe School of Mines was reported to have been seriously assaulted. 

In another twist to the story Nehanda Radio can reveal that some of the board members now stubbornly hanging on to office had actually resigned themselves while others had been relieved of their duties. We have been told; 

“Otto Saki resigned from the ZINASU board on the 1st of July and we are in possession of his resignation letter that he signed. Dzikamai Machingura also officially resigned from the board on the 2nd of July 2009. Gorden Moyo was also relieved of his duties because he is now a government minister. Chinoputsa was no longer a board member as he had a vote of no confidence passed on him at the 20 June general council meeting.” 

The letter also says Saturday’s meeting “was held illegally without the blessings of the president (who also sits in the board) and the executive. The actions of all the people who attended this meeting were meant to undermine decisions and resolutions made by the national executive council.” 

Despite the turmoil most students around the country said they were behind Bere and his executive. “The problem Brilliant Dube, Privilege Mutanga and Lovemore Chinoputsa have is that despite enjoying the donor funding oozing from Tsunga and Mafume, they do not have the numbers and support. Students in the colleges and universities do not even know them and will identify more easily with Bere and company. To make matters worse Dube lacks the charisma and intellect to be a ZINASU leader,” an observer who refused to be named said.