By Moregiven Sithole
Harare, 28 August 2017
In a development that is likely meant to muzzle student activism, the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) authorities have rejected an application for Masters Studies by the institution’s former SRC Vice President, Zivai Mhetu.
Mhetu, who is now the national spokesperson for ZINASU had applied for admission as a Masters student in International Relations.
In his letter of appeal to the University’s Vice Chancellor the vocal student activist says he is eligible to be enrolled adding that he is financially fit to pay for the programme.
“I write to you Vice Chancellor appealing to you and the University to reconsider my application for admission into the University, beginning August 2017.The reason why I have decided to write directly to you is that I applied for admission in to the University for the Masters degree in International Relations. I met all the requirements needed for one to be admitted for a Masters programme thus inclusive of a 2:1 undergrad degree but my application was denied,” he said.
In his response UZ Deputy Registrar, Doctor B.Makunike confirmed that the application was not fruitful without giving further details.
“Reference is made to your letter to the Vice-Chancellor dated 26th July 2017 in respect of the above .I regret to advise you that your application was not successful,” Dr Makunike curtly responded in a letter.
This did not go down well with Mhetu who believes he is being persecuted for belonging to ZINASU which is viewed as being sympathetic the opposition parties particularly the MDC-T.
He said his mistreatment is a deliberate ploy by the authorities to discourage students to partake in political activities.
“Vacancies should be offered to students based on their academic achievements not based on political affiliation. This decision by the institution is a blow to student activism, the voice of dissent has been completely shattered.”
“This is only meant to discourage students from participating in political activities be it in school or at national level,”Mhetu thundered.
“This is an infringement to the right to political affiliation and freedom of expression,” he added.
He said this leads to depoliticisation and voter apathy.
Meanwhile another student activist Tonderai Dombo was also denied to enroll as a Masters student.
This is despite the fact that Dombo was invited by authorities in the department of Arts to apply saying they had no enough students to constitute a Masters class.
Mhetu is famously known for fighting for the rights of students and at one time he accused the institutions of higher learning for charging late registration fee “as if the government is fined for delaying payments of civil servants.”