SW Radio Africa (London)

13 July 2007

Zimbabwe: High Court Declares Eviction of UZ Students Illegal

High court Judge Charles Hungwe on Friday ruled that the brutal eviction of more than 5 000 University of Zimbabwe students by riot police on Monday was illegal.

The Zimbabwe National Students Association on Wednesday filed an urgent High court application challenging the eviction. Heavily armed police gave students 30 minutes to remove their possessions from the hostels. ZINASU President Promise Mkwananzi told Newsreel they have already started working on returning the students back to campus. He said they will not wait for the authorities to comply with the order.

Mkwananzi blamed the eviction fiasco on the UZ Vice Chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura whom he accused of taking orders from Zanu (PF) officials.

'We know Nyagura has a history of not complying with High court orders but if he decides to do the same with the latest order, he will go down in history as the chancellor who contributed to the deterioration of standards at the University,' Mkwananzi said.

On Sunday there was destruction of property at the campus following violent protests by students who were resisting moves to make them pay an extra Z$1 million for a semester extension, caused by a lecturers strike over poor pay.

The majority of those who stay on campus have no homes, friends or relatives in Harare and so were forced to sleep in the open, while the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe has been battling to find food to give the students a meal a day while they take exams.

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