Zimbabwe: Tear Smoke As Anti-Riot Police Quash Kwekwe Student Demo

ANTI-RIOT police were Wednesday called in to quash a demonstration by hordes of Kwekwe Polytechnic College engineering students who were angered by a directive by authorities to rewrite an examination whose paper had leaked.

Police used tear smoke to disperse protesting learners who had defiantly ignored orders to vacate campus where the protests were taking place.

The students were not happy with the directive by the Higher Education Examination Council (Hexco) as they refused to sit again for the controversial electronics paper.

Hexco is the national examination board for Polytechnics and Government Vocational centres.

Authorities at Kwekwe polytechnic indicated that Hexco ordered the final year students in the electrical department following the leaking of one of the examination papers.

"We are just following a directive from the examination board. They are the ones who ordered for that particular paper rewrite after reaching a decision," Kwekwe Polytechnic principal Evans Musara told NewZimbabwe.com Wednesday.

He however refused to entertain further questions on the matter, referring this reporter to Hexco for any additional inquiry.

Scores of engineering students stuck to their guns and vowed not to rewrite the examination as they indicated that it was unfair to sit again for a paper which they had completed.

They also said it was left for authorities to deal with the culprits behind the leakage who had been identified.

"We were supposed to write electronics because we were told that the paper leaked. The culprits we believe were caught and they were disqualified and no-one else in the examination was caught and everyone was told to rewrite," one of the students who refused to be named for fear of victimisation said.

"We don't know why we have been told to re-write the examination. Some students are coming from far off places and we have not been reimbursed our transport monies by the institution. The case we believe is before the courts. They have not opened the examination hall doors."

Efforts to get a comment from Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Permanent Secretary Professor Fanuel Tagwira who is Hexco chairperson proved fruitless as his mobile phone was not reachable.

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