Students demo exposes alarming rot

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YESTERDAY we led with an extraordinary story of Njube High School students in Bulawayo who held a protest over fees hikes while also demanding that their teachers be paid better salaries by the government.
This was unprecedented!
The students marched from the high density suburb to a service station in neighbouring Entumbane, before they were intercepted by their headmaster who ordered them to go back to school.
The students told the Daily News that they had mounted the protest because they were not happy with the recent school fees increases — which went up from $92 to $492 a term.
They also claimed that their teachers had deserted classes to harvest amacimbi (mopani worms) on the outskirts of Bulawayo because they could not make ends meet.
The demonstration by the students makes sad reading about the state of affairs in our country in as much it shows how far things have broken down in our economy.
It would be disingenuous on the part of those who are quick to blame a foreign hand in such developments without applying their minds to the worsening rot that is raising tensions and fanning divisions among communities.
At the beginning of the year, during a clean-up exercise in Kuwadzana high density suburb, President Emmerson Mnangagwa was confronted by restless parents who complained about steep school fees hikes by both his government and private institutions.
Mnangagwa promised to investigate although he said he had been told that fees would not be hiked beyond the reach of parents.
Just recently, pupils at an elite Harare private school were asked to write their wish-list for 2020 and staggeringly, the majority “prayed” for the economy to improve so that their parents could afford to pay their school fees.
Things are just bad and they need a quick fix before Zimbabwe crosses the Rubicon.
No well-meaning Zimbabwean would encourage what happened in Bulawayo on Monday but at the same time, the incident should serve as a warning to the authorities about the heights our rot has scaled.
The June 16, 1976 Soweto uprisings — where a series of protests led by black students triggered an avalanche of events against the then apartheid South African government — are still etched in the minds of many Zimbabweans.
Zimbabwe does not need to go that route and neither does it deserve to remain in this worrying situation where tensions continue to rise over unresolved political and economic issues.

 

 

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