Zimbabwe: UZ in Mugabe Vacation U-Turn

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa and former First Lady Grace Mugabe, centre, at the arrival of former President Robert Mugabe’s body from Singapore at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare.
11 September 2019

UNIVERSITY of Zimbabwe (UZ) authorities have reversed their decision to send students on forced vacation ostensibly to mourn late former State President Robert Mugabe who died in Singapore last Friday.

The u-turn followed pressure from firebrand student group, Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) for authorities to abandon the controversial decision.

UZ had Monday ordered learners to take a three-day leave to mourn their late former Chancellor.

In response, UZ ZINASU chair, Leroy Madhosi had addressed a letter to the Dean of Students demanding that the move be abandoned as it was a rushed decision which was going to inconvenience many with unbudgeted travelling expenses.

Pictures and videos of UZ scholars picketing at the institution following the announcement went viral on social media.

In a press statement dated 10 September 2019, the university said students were no longer expected to vacate the premises as had been advised earlier but would attend their lectures as usual.

"The University of Zimbabwe has reconsidered and reversed its earlier decision to send students on recess.

"Students are therefore advised to report for classes as usual. Those in university accommodation are therefore no longer expected to vacate their residences as earlier communicated," reads the statement.

Mugabe died aged 95 in Singapore where he was receiving treatment for unknown ailments.

Following his death, President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared an indefinite mourning period until his burial.

This also sparked rumours of a change in the academic calendar but Primary and Secondary Education Minister, Paul Mavima dismissed these.

He said, "Social media reports that there is a school calendar deviation are untrue. Please ignore the news, which intended to cause confusion".

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