Categories
INSPIRATION

Zim student one of UK’s Rare Rising Stars’

A Zimbabwean student has been featured in Rare Rising Stars 2020, the UK’s Top Ten Black Students owing to her participation in different community initiatives.

Tanatsei Gambura, an Intermedia Arts student with University of Edinburgh, is an art and youth activist and was recently shortlisted for the inaugural Amsterdam Open Book Prize and has just been announced as its runner-up.

In an interview, she said:

“When I turned 14, despite the government funding, school became unaffordable and I was forced to spend a year out of education.

“This was a pivotal moment for me, as I realised that I couldn’t continue to be dependent on others for the rest of my life.

“At this time, I went into survival mode and channelled that energy into building myself a social network of like-minded people.

Tana Gambura co-hosting the Anzisha Prize Gala in 2018

“I also started looking for ways to be more active within the community and discovered the beginning of a lifelong interest in the arts.

“When I returned to school aged 15, I became heavily involved in theatre and the arts, to the extent that my work was selected by the British Council for a photography and poetry residency called These Images are Stories, which ran in London for 8 months.”

At the age of 17, she was nominated to receive a generous scholarship to study at the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, where she completed her two-year programme.

“If you don’t come from a background of privilege, you don’t have people to fall back or rely on as nothing has been handed to them, so they have nothing to give you,” she said.

Before moving to South Africa, Tanatsei founded the 25 May Movement, a collective of artists, community organisers, social workers and cultural producers collaborating to lead social change in Africa.

“The aim is to build a vibrant, dynamic and sustainable creative sector that contributes to development in Africa and for me this was my attempt to create an awareness and sense of responsibility for people in my community about the future of the continent.

“The 25 May Movement strategy is to integrate arts and culture into a comprehensive plan designed to shift public sentiment and forge a new collective consensus around a social challenge.

“Its programmes offer week-long workshops, celebrations and community gatherings on socio-political themes such as colourism, African masculinity, dissecting the urgency of voice and a dialogue for peacebuilding,” added Tanatsei.

Tanatsei founded the 25 May Movement, a collective of artists, community organisers, social workers and cultural producers collaborating to lead social change in Africa.

Gambura ran four such events herself in Zimbabwe last year, with over 70 people in attendance.

“In 2016, the 25 May Movement was simply a group of girls who banded together behind a camera to proclaim a pan-African stance.

“Today I have led my team in running a nationwide radio broadcasting series, facilitated conversation circles to foster dialogue, and programmed free and accessible workshops.

“With a staff of five female volunteers, my collective now has an online reach of over 60,000 people and has attracted the attention of organisations such as the Goethe Institute, the Swedish Embassy and the Impact Hub exchange programme.

“In 2018, I was invited onto the board of directors of ROOTS Africa, a non-profit organisation working towards the promotion of economic and social justice among young people in rural and mining communities, where I now serve as the youngest advisor.

“That same year, I was appointed an advisor by the Global Fund for Women to advise on key issues women and young people are facing in Zimbabwe.”

Last year, she was the recipient of the Diana Award for humanitarian work.

“In December 2018, I was selected by the United Nations Women for a Gender in a Changing Context panel where she was the youngest woman on the panel.”

“I have also been a member of the student council of the World Leading Schools Association for the past two years.

Tana Gambura is one of eight high-achieving Mastercard Foundation scholarship recipients from Zimbabwe

“I was in the process of programming a workshop for their conference this year to be held in Toronto with around 300 of their members.

“Iwas also selected as one of eight high-achieving Mastercard Foundation scholarship recipients from Zimbabwe, which enables me to read Intermedia Art at the University of Edinburgh.,” she added.

Gambura, has co-founded a project called Ourchives which is an interdisciplinary decolonial project based in Edinburgh that attempts to draw light on urgent debates on the provenance and afterlife of cultural objects from formerly colonised spaces in Scotland and beyond.

Categories
NEWS OPINION

SUICIDES a trend at Nust ?

“I dont feel happy these days,wish i could just die”

By Tendai Nyambara|Nust-Zw

I found myself looking for a counselling section on the Nust Website a month ago as I had attended a training with an organisation called SAYWHAT (students and Youth working on Reproductive health Action Team) and a question was posed on us as whether we knew where to access contact details for our counsellors incase we might need their assistance and I was one of those who could not answer. I then decided to browse the website to find their details and it took me quite a while to locate their division but still i could not find their details.

Last week I then attended a Nust wellness day in which I met a lot of health practitioners like a dentist who told me I needed to get my tooth a filling, and an optomotrist who checked my eyes and told me that it was highly possible that my eyes were light sensitive and that I needed to see her as soon as possible , but the most interesting talk I had was with the Nust division of students which deals with counselling .

As students we find ourselves in difficult situations where we need help and sometimes we are too proud to communicate .I am trying to imagine a guy at the verge of debt ,they cannot pay rentals in Selbourne Park, the guy probably needs money for food and is trying to manage school work at the same time even if they would love for their parents to help they know how bad the situation is at home whilst with ladies because possibly how the society has shaped us ,it could be pregnancy but I don’t want anyone to know that I am pregnant.I am ashamed most probably.

Ofcourse i am okay !

Last year the August to December semester at Nust was probably the scariest and the most disturbing semesters I have ever seen even though it was only my third semester ever since I have started at Nust.

There were cases of suicides happening one after the other, I recall the one of the first year student who decided to sleep on the railway line https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.chronicle.co.zw/pregnant-nust-student-in-train-suicide/amp/and another one was when second year student was found dead in his room by the res and what surprised me was that ,I usually met this guy from afar and he looked ‘well’.https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-146433.html

As we walk around campus every day we are just students that have too much school pressure ,life pressures, too much expectations from our parents and the only way possible to vent out that stress is through partying but I am wondering is that even the right way to do things?

According to the American Psychiatric Association depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately it is also treatable https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression, but it does not have to go to the state of treating when you can just go for counselling services.

Speaking to R. Ndebele a counsellor under the Nust division of student Affairs :Counselling services she mentioned that they offered were one on one, group, relationship, family and even academic counselling in case you have failed and it’s causing some serious negative vibes on you.

She highlighted that students do not come for counselling services as much they would expect them to and even if they did its a few who actually do.

“Students only come when they are on the verge of breaking point”, she said.

And this is definitely not healthy according to her. Could then this be an issue of students that are ignorant and not interested or who probably do not even where to find the division in the Nust website is and have tried looking but failed or the department does not engage with students as often they should ? .Food for thought!

Categories
NEWS

NUST comes third place in the Zusa games

Tendai Nyambara | Nust-Zw

The University of Science and Technology participated in the Zimbabwe University Sports and Association games, which took place between the 14-17 March this year which saw it getting third position with only 11 gold, 16 silver and 11 bronze whilst University of Zimbabwe (UZ) scooped 26 gold, 16 silver and 19 bronze followed by the Midlands State University with 23 gold, 16 silver and 18 bronze respectively.

Based on the gap between Nust and UZ in terms of gold medals especially, one then questions the capabilities of the participants in these disciplines. Could it be the issue that the other universities have well trained students who are ready to play the game which Nust does not have?

Speaking to Kelvin Mutseta, the soccer Vice Captain, he expressed his concerns on how players sometimes fail to come to all trainings due to school pressure.

‘Some of the guys during the training sessions do not attend the training sessions because they will be having classes’, he pointed out.

However another problem apparent is commitment from the administration at Nust which is failing to support its students in terms of transportation and other necessities that need to be availed for students to prepare well for these games.

According to the Vice Secretary general of the Sports Council Rangarirai Shadaya, ‘Nust has a good sports base in terms of players if only they had adequate support from the admin’,
He added that sometimes buses come late to pick them up as most of their training facilities are off campus therefore which means they need transport which takes them to their different destinations, but because they come late they end up infringing on the scheduled time for training and therefore the time to practice is cut short.

This makes one wonder what the Student Representative Council is doing to solve these problems as Shadaya alluded they had tried to communicate with the council but it seems to have been fruitless.

Unfortunately the Minster of Sports could not be available to comment on these allegations as he mentioned how busy he was organizing the inter faculty games.

Categories
ESSENTIALS Opinion

After Mugabe – ‘Not much has changed in HE’

Kudzai Mashininga
4 minute read

A year after the departure of Zimbabwe’s former president Robert Mugabe after 37 years in power, opinion is divided on how much progress the new government under Emmerson Mnangagwa has made in reforming the country’s struggling higher education sector.

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher Education Daniel Molokele said there had been no significant changes in the sector as political interference in the running of higher education, corruption and chronic underfunding has continued under the country’s new leader.

“I would say there haven’t been any significant changes to differentiate between the previous and the present era. So we still need more time to see those promised changes, but one thing that I can clearly see is that in terms of budgeting, in terms of prioritising the higher education ministry, there is still a challenge. The ministry asked for a budget of US$900 million something in the national budget; it got a budget of US$380 million. So we are still underfunding higher education.”

Reforms

After coming to power, Mnangagwa introduced the Transitional Stabilisation Programme aimed at reinvigorating higher education and ensuring the system is relevant to the labour market. In March the government held a Higher and Tertiary Education Infrastructure Investment conference at which investors committed US$1.5 billion. The government is also working on establishing university towns and has pledged to set aside 1% of the country’s gross domestic product for research.

However, Molokele, who is a former student leader at the University of Zimbabwe, argues that institutional governance systems are still a problem, with university councils filled with political appointees who do not have real influence.

Furthermore, the current situation, where the state president is also the chancellor of every state-run institution of higher learning, has been a recipe for disaster.

“Universities need less political influence and more emphasis on academic freedom,” he said.

“There is corruption in the administration of most institutions of higher learning. The vice-chancellors have a lot of power and they need to be more accountable,” he said.

Earlier this year, the vice-chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), Professor Levi Nyagura, was suspended over the awarding of a Doctor of Philosophy degree in 2014 to the former first lady Grace Mugabe under controversial circumstances, and after lecturers from the department of sociology submitted a petition to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission calling for the PhD to be revoked and nullified.

“We need to see more autonomy and independence in institutions of higher learning. We know that the University of Zimbabwe Amendment Act of 1990 changed the vice-chancellor from the chief academic to a chief disciplinarian and that trend then affected all the other universities run by the state. We need to see more academic freedom in Zimbabwe,” said Molekele.

Students ‘learn in fear’

Concerns have also been raised by students. In a position paperreleased in November, the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) said under Mnangagwa students’ rights continue to be trampled upon and universities continue to arbitrarily suspend students.

The union said students learn in fear as their freedoms of association, and right to information and assembly, are not respected due to draconian colonial legislation which has been redefined by the current regime as institutional ordinances that seek to give unprecedented power to university authorities to expel and suspend students.

“Many UZ students are still serving their suspensions after the college executed the ordinance 31 to suspend them,” the statement said.

The statement said that after the Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University demonstration in Bindura, 50 students were suspended without a disciplinary hearing, which the union successfully challenged. There was also the National University of Science and Technology demonstration, where seven students were detained only for questioning the administration.

Soaring cost of living

ZINASU said Mnangagwa has failed to make higher education accessible as pledged by his administration as the cost of living soars.

In recent months, there has been a jump in prices of goods and services with some service providers demanding payment in foreign currency even though the majority of citizens are paid in local Zimbabwe bond notes.

The jump in prices resulted in year-on-year inflation rising to 20.85% for the month of October from 5.39% in September.

ZINASU said the current fee structure is unmanageable for many students who come from struggling backgrounds.

“These challenges have a strong bearing on the education of our students. If the economic situation continues to deteriorate, students will be forced to discontinue their studies,” it said.

President of the College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe David Dzatsunga confirmed that the economic situation is becoming dire, resulting in a lack of resources and equipment for use by students and lecturers.

“The economic situation is dire and generally students are struggling to purchase the required materials. Student welfare is not at its best and that creates downstream problems,” he said.

Austerity measures

Dzatsunga said the new administration announced austerity measures in the national budget in November that are being implemented without consultation, worsening the situation for lecturers.

For example, the government has said that duty on imported cars must now be paid in United States dollars even though workers are being paid in Zimbabwe bond notes.

“The austerity measures have the effect of eroding our salaries and we may end up earning the equivalent of US$110 … The conditions of service are deteriorating,” he said.

Dzatsunga said while government had introduced a new curriculum in schools, teacher training colleges had not reviewed their own curriculum.

“This means that teachers are being taught the old curriculum to go and teach the new curriculum,” he said.

‘More needs to be done’

Zimbabwean academic Dr Admire Mare, a senior lecturer at Namibia University of Science and Technology, said the new minister in the post-Mugabe era – Professor Amon Murwira – has tried his best to improve the situation. However, he said, more needs to be done.

“I think the current minister of higher and tertiary education, science and technology development is trying his best to put our universities back on the global map after years of infrastructural decay and lowering of academic standards.

“The replacement of Levi Nyagura [as University of Zimbabwe vice-chancellor] is also a step in the right direction because academics were being denied the opportunity to attend conferences and engage in forward thinking conversations with their peers,” said Mare.

He said while these are important steps, there is still a need to ensure academic standards in teaching, research and community development are strengthened.

“Academics ought to be incentivised to publish in authentic peer-reviewed journals and this can be done through a Zimbabwe national research fund or foundation which helps the ministry with disbursing research funds to active researchers. There is also a need to ensure that technological hubs become part of the academic ecosystem so that research and development are connected,” said Mare.

Originally published at http://www.universityworldnews.com
Categories
NEWS

Student jailed 4 years for hit and run killing

Curator | Nust-ZW
2 minute read.

A 25-year-old Zimbabwean student at a South African university has been jailed for four years after he was convicted for killing Harare businessman and socialite Shingi Mukandi in a hit and run road accident last year.

Alfred Machipisa, a third-year student, was convicted of culpable homicide.

He was accused of failing to stop after a fatal road accident to both render assistance and report the accident to the police within the mandatory 24 hours.

Machipisa will however serve 3 years effective after Harare magistrate Edwin Marecha set aside a year of his sentence conditionally.

“The accused deserves punishment for his gross negligence.

“A fine will trivialise the offences and worsening his case is that he did not stop after the accident.

“He only pitched up at the police after three days of manhunt. Maybe if he had stopped to check on the victim, if he was still alive or needed help, it would have been different,” said the magistrate.

Court ruled Machipisa was negligent by travelling at an excessive speed while failing to keep a proper look out.

The magistrate said he also acted negligently by failing to render assistance or guarding Mukandi’s lifeless body.

Prosecuting, Isheunesu Mhiti said on July 22 last year, around 9pm, Machipisa drove a white Isuzu KB300 due west along Harare Drive while trailing Mukandi’s green Kawasaki motor cycle.

Mhiti said as Machipisa passed number 201 Mt Pleasant, he negligently drove his Isuzu at an excessive speed in the circumstances and failed to keep a proper lookout for the road user ahead.

The vehicle that was involved in the accident

“Machipisa failed to keep a safe distance between his car and Mukandi’s motorcycle that was ahead of him and as a result, hit him from behind,” Mhiti said.

Due to the impact, Mhiti said Mukandi flew off the motorcycle and landed approximately 70 meters away from the left side of the tarmac.

His bike was picked some 100 meters away from the point of impact.

Court heard that Mukandi’s body and the damaged motorcycle were discovered by a passer-by who called for an ambulance.

The ambulance crew declared Mukandi dead at the scene. An autopsy was carried out on Mukandi’s body at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals and concluded that he died due to injuries sustained in the accident.

At that time, Machipisa had hidden his car at his father’s place in Harare’s Mabelreign and handed himself to the police three days later saying he was still in shock.

Born in 1984, Shingi was the Executive Director and Head of Operations for Freight World which is one of the leading shipping, forwarding and customs clearing organisations which was established in 1991.

The businessman and socialite was known for his partying ways and was a biker.

Original Article: https://www.newzimbabwe.com/shingi-mukandis-killer-driver-jailed-4-years/
Categories
NEWS sex

Zimbabwe Announces Suspension Of Customs Duty & Value Added Tax on Sanitary Wear

Curator | Nust-ZW
One minute read

Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube yesterday suspended customs duty on sanitary wear for the next one year.

Presenting the 2019 National Budget in Parliament, Prof Ncube said this was meant to cushion underprivileged women and girls in the interim, while the local supply of sanitary wear improves

I propose to suspend customs duty for sanitary wear for a period of 12 months beginning December 1, 2018. I also propose to exempt imports of sanitary wear from Value Added Tax,’ said Prof Ncube.

POLITICS OF PERIODS

Parliamentarians and various organisations have been running campaigns aimed at advocating for health and wellness particularly access to sanitary wear.

The campaigns call for standardised, affordable prices for sanitary wear, pushing for a mandatory sustainable sanitary wear budget in every Government institution and public spaces, free sanitary wear in schools and also pushing organisations like the United Nations to prioritise girls and young women’s health and wellness.

These campaigns have revealed that:

…many young girls miss school during their menstrual periods, while others are subjected to sexual harassment and abuse as a result of lack of access to sanitary wear, which makes them eventually drop out of school.

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs and Youth, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga is on record as saying the health needs of girls should be prioritised by Government.

Parliamentarians from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party have urged the government to invest in the industry and provide free period products as a show of respect.

“Sanitary wear should be made readily available free of charge just like condoms; government should pay for sanitary wear. Government should take the dignity of women and girls seriously,” Jessie Majome, a Zimbabwean legislator from the opposition MDC party, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation

Sources: Chronicle + Reuters
Categories
INSPIRATION

Binga-born student makes shortlist for prestigious 2019 Rhodes Scholarship programme

St Kate News
2 minute read

THE Selection Committee for the Zimbabwe Rhodes Scholarship programme has announced that a St. Catherine University student is a finalist for the 2019 programme.

Maakwe Cumanzala is an international student at the Minnesota Catholic liberal arts university in with a double major in economics and mathematics.

“This is an extremely competitive award, so being named a finalist is a remarkable achievement” said Lynda Szymanski, Interim Provost and Professor of Psychology at St. Catherine University.

“Maakwe is an extraordinary student and campus leader. Faculty, staff, and alumnae recognized her potential and encouraged her to apply for the Rhodes Scholarship; it is a fabulous example of how we live our mission to educate women to lead and influence.

“Maakwe is an extraordinary student and campus leader. Faculty, staff, and alumnae recognized her potential and encouraged her to apply for the Rhodes Scholarship

“We are proud of Maakwe, and we are thankful for all members of our community who have helped prepare her to be a competitive applicant.”

The Rhodes Scholarships are the oldest and most celebrated international fellowship awards in the world.

Administered by the Rhodes Trust in Oxford, the programme offers fully-funded Scholarships each year for post-graduate study at the University of Oxford – one of the world’s leading universities.

Selection Committees for the Scholarships look for young leaders of outstanding intellect and character who are motivated to engage with global challenges, committed to the service of others and show promise of becoming value-driven, principled leaders for the world’s future.

Cumanzala has embraced several leadership opportunities while a student at St. Catherine University, including President of the International Students Organization, Peer Mentor with the Multicultural and International Programs and Services, co-President of the Economics Club, and a Transfer Orientation Coordinator.

In her current role as the Student Senate President at St. Kate’s, Cumanzala is working with other student leaders to effectively advocate for inclusive change and empowerment of students on campus through student initiatives.

Cumanzala’s college career reflects her greater life goals.

“I come from a small town – Binga, Zimbabwe,” she explained.

“Growing up, I was exposed to the disparities that the Tonga people face – especially the women and young girls so I decided at a very young age that I wanted to bring about the economic empowerment of my tribe and all other minority people in the world.

“The first step is for me to receive a sound education.”

Each finalist participates in an interview, to be held in Harare, Zimbabwe. If she is chosen to move forward as a Rhodes Scholar, Cumanzala intends to pursue an MPhil in Economics at the University of Oxford.

She also hopes to collaborate and receive mentorship from the renowned professors in the Centre for the Study of African Economies

Following her Oxford studies, Cumanzala plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Development Economics, and establish an independent economics research lab in Zimbabwe to use data-driven evidence to inform policy.

“The Rhodes scholarship would offer me a unique opportunity to gain knowledge and skills to create theories that will be influential in setting domestic and international policies that bring about equality in the world,” said Cumanzala.

“As a Rhodes Scholar, I would continue being an exemplary academic and leader to inspire minority girls to engage in higher education and claim their seat at the table.”

Categories
CAREER Entrepreneurship OPPORTUNITY

NUST Young Inventors Club wins 2nd place at #SANBioLabHack2018

The #SANBioLabHack2018 took place in Pretoria, South Africa, this week with 17 undergraduate students coming together to turn their passion for innovation by addressing afro-centric solutions to common lab issues.

Staff Writer | Nust ZW

2 minute read

The 2nd place winning team from the Zimbabwe National University of Science and Technology’s (NUST) Young Inventors Club impressed the judges with their low-cost PCR machine, which is also known as a Thermocycler that is commonly used to amplify segments of DNA.

Aimed to bring the ideas and ideology of the open hardware movement to the African education community, LabHack opens up opportunities for equipping labs in novel and sustainable fashions by facilitating the open design of key laboratory equipment.

When asked what inspired their prototype, Team Zimbabwe captain and NUST Electronics Engineering student Clifford Mutsave said the team wanted to live up to their name, Young Inventors.

According to the team, the best centre in Zimbabwe only has two PCR machines mainly because they are very expensive.

The cheapest PCR machines on the market cost in the range of forty thousand US dollars and are thus often unaffordable by the institutions offering science and technology education, resulting in students lacking a practical exposure to how these kinds of equipment are operated.

In high school we were also victims of theoretical lessons on how to operate the lab equipment, resulting in a lack of overall appreciation on how to use these pieces of equipment. As NUST students who have their country at heart – especially young scientists in the high schools – we have come with a design of a low cost and economic yet effective PCR machine,” Mutsave states.

Mutsave’s team also included Applied Chemistry student, Miriam Guni – the only female participant in the group – and Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering students Ropafadzo Manyuchi and Nakai Mashamba.

The team were also accompanied by their mentors, Nigel Nyathi, Givemore Kanyemba along with Tafadzwa Banga who is the founder and president of a non-profit organisation Young Inventors from NUST.
Young Inventors was established in 2017 after getting support from the Yali organisation with the idea to give innovative African youths the platform to engage in shaping their communities.
As an organisation, we want to ensure that youths who are innovative get recognition as much as those in the academic sector do. It has been a trend for the past in Africa, Zimbabwe specifically, that a child who excels in academics is considered to be more important than others whilst those who are innovative are not so much appreciated. As of now we have managed to establish a club at NUST and what we seek is to break departmental barriers by allowing students from different departments to work together. Winning this award is just the beginning of more great things to come,” Banga said.

The LabHack model was first piloted in Zimbabwe and conceived by University of Oxford researchers, Dr Louise Bezuidenhout and Helena Webb with the intention to be a competitive and educational event where multidisciplinary teams of students compete around three challenges to build low-cost laboratory equipment.

The South African edition of LabHack was supported and hosted by SANBio / BioFISA II Programme which is a shared biosciences research development and innovation platform for working collaboratively to address some of Southern Africa’s key biosciences issues in health, nutrition and health-related intervention areas.

Members of the Young Inventors
Categories
NEWS

BREAKING: 30 die as SA bound bus catches fire

Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Gwanda Correspondent

30 PEOPLE have died after a Brooklyn Express bus was reduced to ashes near West Nicholson area in Gwanda on Thursday night.

Civil Protection Unit director Mr Nathan Nkomo confirmed the number of the deceased with the government releasing $15 000 to their families for funeral expenses.

Speaking at the scene of the accident, Matabeleland South police spokesperson, Chief Inspector Philisani Ndebele said several bodies had been reduced to ashes.

Gwanda Provincial Hospital acting medical superintendent, Dr Rutendo Manyathi said 27 people sustained injuries- with five being referred to Bulawayo after sustaining severe burns.

Dr Manyati said they are working with various stakeholders to collect the bodies.

The driver of the bus who escaped with minor burns, Mr Ndabazinhle Sikhosana said the fire started after a suspected gas tank explosion.

He said some passengers escaped through the door and windows.

Developing story
Categories
ESSENTIALS Politics

Hacking forces MSU to stop SRC polls

BY BRENNA MATENDERE | Newsday 
One minute read

MIDLANDS State University (MSU) students have raised concern after the institution’s administration halted the Students Representative Council (SRC) elections and postponed them indefinitely.

The university claimed its server had been hacked to interfere with the elections that were being carried out electronically.

The elections were scheduled to be held from November 9-15 but on the first day of voting, MSU registrar Erasmus Mupfiga posted an announcement on the institution’s website that the elections had been postponed indefinitely.

“This communication serves to inform you that the SRC elections that had been scheduled for Thursday 9 November and Thursday 15 November have been postponed until further notice. The postponement has been as a result of a serious and massive security breach that has been detected by our information and technology department,” read part of the notice.

MSU spokesperson, Mirirai Mawere, confirmed the developments.

“Yes I can confirm that they have been postponed until further notice. The postponement is as a result of a serious and massive security breach which has been detected by our information and technology experts. The university has a duty to ensure that the SRC elections are conducted in a credible, professional and transparent manner so that the results thereof truly reflect the will of all the students,” she told Southern Eye.

Zimbabwe National Students Union Midlands chairman Tinashe Chiriga, however, slammed the university’s decision and accused the administration of seeking to protect a candidate from the Zimbabwe Congress of Students Union (Zicosu), which he said was headed for defeat.

When the polls were halted, Jacob Lawrence Sedze (Zinasu) was leading the race for the SRC presidency with 248 votes ahead of Elsie Moyo (Zicosu) at 102 and Richard Sweto (Independent) who had polled 71.

“The biggest challenge we have is that no official communication was made to the candidates. Just a message to the students on the public e-voting platform was circulated by the registrar,” Chiriga said, adding that the development had raised anxiety among students.