FRESH divisions have rocked the country's main students' union in with the Morgan Tsvangirai led MDC and Lovemore Madhuku's NCA party fingered as the main sponsors of the disunity.
A new group led by University of Zimbabwe law student, Agency Gumbo, emerged at a press briefing Friday claiming leadership of the flagship students body, the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU).
Gumbo dismissed the current Zinasu executive led by suspended UZ student and activist Pride Mukono as a group of imposters, adding the once vibrant student movement has never had any legitimate leadership since 2006.
He said as general councillors of the various student representative councils in the country's tertiary institutions were empowered to exercise any functions that concerned student affairs adding that they have since called for a congress between 8 and 10 November this year to install a substantive leadership.
"ZINASU last had a proper congress in 2006 and the failure to have our seventh and eighth biennial congress was affected by a period of factionalism," Gumbo told a press briefing that was dominated by dozens of chanting university students.
"We reiterate that Zinasu currently does not have a legitimate leadership because of the aforementioned issues. We also remind you that the failure to have a proper national executive council for the painful years left the general council as the only legitimate organ of
ZINASU at the moment.
"We have today gathered as the last bastion of legitimacy at this press conference to clarify Zinasu's plans towards restoration of legitimacy and make a collective position on the plight of the student cadre.
"We promise to return Zinasu to legitimacy by holding a genuine elective congress this year which would be spearheaded by the general councillors gathered here as the current legitimate custodians of the union."
Although Gumbo's faction described their links with the MDC-T as sisterly, he denied they were an appendage of the opposition party, claims that Mukono made at a press briefing the previous day.
Trevor Chamba, a Bindura University accountancy student who is aligned the Gumbo faction, did not pull any punches with regard to Mukono.
"Pride Mukono is not the president of Zinasu, was never the president of Zinasu, neither is he a student," he said.
"So all the sentiments that he echoed are not from the students; all the allegations that he is making are just personal allegations maybe from a disgruntled drunkard who is just trying to seek relevance in this hash world. He is not a student."
In response, Mukono reiterated his claims the surprise emergence of the new Zinasu faction was the works of "paranoid hawks within the MDC-T who want to keep the student movement under their armpits".
He said Gumbo was being propped up by MDC-T national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa as they both study law in the same class and was a prominent member of the MDC student council, a partisan structure that operates within the student community.
"This is exactly the manifestation of what we were saying. We were aware of what the MDC-T has been planning to do and they have actually pre-empted their strategy," said Mukono, who faction is seen as sympathetic to the NCA.
"We were supposed to go to our congress on (Friday) but we had to postpone it because of these interferences that are coming from the MDC-T.
"As you can see, Agency Gumbo is coming from nowhere and all of a sudden claiming that I was not elected when l have nearly finished my two-year term with less than a month left in office.
"He was not even there at that particular process. He cannot by virtue of associating with Chamisa end up being a Zinasu student. There has to be due process to be followed.
"Chamisa, Promise Mkhwananzi (MDC-T youth assembly secretary general) and those at the MDC must stay and desist from our student politics because it is purely for the students."
The country's main student movement was involved in the 1999 formation of the MDC and remains a key platform for rallying student support behind the party.