Zimbabwe’s Higher and Tertiary Education Minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo on Friday threatened to withdraw degrees of students who demonstrated against President Robert Mugabe during a graduation ceremony at the University of Zimbabwe.
In a tweet, Moyo implied that any conduct deemed unruly by the state could lead to the withdrawal of one’s degree
Moyo was referring to former Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (Zinasu) president Tonderai Dombo’s unprecedented protest in which he stood on his chair and waved a placard in Mugabe’s face demanding jobs. Mugabe, who is the institution’s chancellor, was getting ready to cap over 3 000 students. NewsDay reports
Just because one is Mr Dombo does not mean they should throw stones everywhere anytime. Disrupting a graduation ceremony can cost a degree! pic.twitter.com/YmlXt6OHzT
— Prof Jonathan Moyo (@ProfJNMoyo) September 29, 2016
The three were charged with public nuisance and fined $10 each and subsequently released.
Speaking to NewsDay, Dombo said that they had spent the night at Harare Central Police Station and the three of them along with Alexander Mukamba and Rushwaya were asked to pay a fine for criminal nuisance.
Zinasu, through secretary-general Makomborero Haruzivishe, denounced Dombo’s arrest, describing it as an infringement of the student’s rights.
Tajamuka/Sesijikile social movement also condemned the arrest, arguing Mugabe had an obligation to provide the 2,2 million jobs he promised in 2013.
Lawyer and People’s Democratic Party president Tendai Biti said the UZ could legally withdraw the degrees.
“It is not possible because those protesters are no longer students because they have graduated. They obtained those degrees because of academic conduct, not as a donation,” Biti said.
“Even if they were a result of donation there is still procedures and legal routes to be followed. They can take away Grace (Mugabe First Lady)’s degree because it was an honorary one.”