Four student leaders have been arrested after some baton wielding anti-riot police stormed and dispersed participants to a ZINASU General Council meeting in Masvingo this Saturday.
They are ZINASU president Takudzwa Ngadziore, Paidamoyo Masaraure (WUA president), ZINASU gender secretary Nancy Njenge and UZ SRC president Lennox Machoko.
In a statement, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Monitors Platform said police pounced on the student activists “without just cause”.
“The riot police pounced on the innocent student activists without just cause and brutally dispersed the General Council prompting other students in attendance to scurry for safety in rooms at the venue where they have locked themselves…” said the student representative group.
Police were reportedly moving from room to room, banging doors to try and locate more activists.
The state’s action is a test to the Zimbabwe government’s commitment to human rights ahead of an impending visit to the country by Special Rapporteur Alena Douhan 18 to 28 October 2021.
Zimbabwe Human Rights Monitors Platform condemned the arrest of the student leaders.
“The Poverty Liberation Movement is enraged by the blatant disregard for the Freedom of Assembly and Association by the government of Zimbabwe,” said the group.
“The General Council which was observing all Covid-19 protocols and looking to better the welfare of students at tertiary institutions in Zimbabwe was Sanz ceremony crushed and hordes of student leaders from various institutions locked themselves in their respective rooms to avoid unwarranted arrest.
“The Liberation Movement is hereby demanding that the government of Emmerson Mnangagwa release the arrested students and allow them to discuss issues that will benefit the over 300 000 students in Zimbabwe!
“Should the government continue on this suicide path, let them remember the words of veteran student leader and pioneer, Learnmore Judah Jongwe, ‘Students the world over are known to initiate and execute revolution and Zimbabwe is not an exception!’ If they invite resistance, they will get resistance in truckloads!”