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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
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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/

#HearMeToo: How Can I Deal With Sexual Harassment On Campus?

Staff Writer | Nust ZW
5 minute read

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment includes any unwanted sexual behavior​—including touching or even making comments of a sexual nature. But sometimes the line can be blurred between teasing, flirting, and sexually harassing.

Do you know the difference between them? Take our  sexual harassment quiz and find out!

Sadly, sexual harassment doesn’t always stop when you graduate from school. However, if you develop the confidence and skills you need to deal with sexual harassment now, you’ll be prepared to deal with it when you enter the workforce. And you might even stop a harasser from hurting others!

What if I’m being sexually harassed?

Sexual harassment is more likely to stop if you know what it is and how to react to it! Consider three situations and how you might deal with each one.

SITUATION:

At work, some guys who were much older than I am kept telling me that I was beautiful and that they wished they were 30 years younger. One of them even walked up behind me and sniffed my hair!”​—Tabitha, 20.

Tabitha could think: ‘If I just ignore it and tough it out, maybe he will stop.’

Why that probably won’t help: Experts say that when victims ignore sexual harassment, it often continues and even escalates.

Try this instead: Speak up and calmly but clearly tell your harasser that you won’t tolerate his speech or behavior. “If anyone touches me inappropriately,” says 22-year-old Taryn, “I turn around and tell him not to touch me ever again. That usually catches the guy off guard.” If your harasser persists, be firm and don’t give up. When it comes to maintaining high moral standards, the Bible’s advice is: “Stand firm, mature and confident.”​—Colossians 4:​12The New Testament in Contemporary Language.

What if the harasser threatens to harm you? In that case, don’t confront him. Escape the situation as quickly as possible, and seek the help of a trusted adult.

SITUATION:

When I was in the sixth grade, two girls grabbed me in the hallway. One of them was a lesbian, and she wanted me to go out with her. Although I refused, they continued to harass me every day between classes. Once, they even pushed me up against a wall!”​—Victoria, 18.

Victoria could have thought: ‘If I tell anyone about this, I will be labeled as weak, and maybe no one will believe me.’

Why that thinking probably would not have helped: If you hold back from telling someone, the harasser may continue and even go on to harass others.​—Ecclesiastes 8:11.

Try this instead: Get help. Parents and teachers can give you the support you need to deal with your harasser. But what if the people you tell don’t take your complaint seriously? Try this: Every time you are harassed, write down the details. Include the date, time, and location of each incident, along with what the harasser said. Then give a copy of it to your parent or teacher. Many people treat a written complaint more seriously than a verbal one.

SITUATION:

I was really afraid of this one boy who was on the rugby team. He was almost two meters (6.5 ft) tall, and he weighed about 135 kilograms (300 lb)! He got it into his head that he was going to ‘have me.’ He pestered me almost every day​—for a whole year. One day, we were the only people in the classroom, and he started closing in on me. I jumped up and ran out the door.”​—Julieta, 18.

Julieta could think: ‘That’s just the way boys are.’

Why that probably won’t help: Your harasser is unlikely to change his behavior if everyone thinks it’s acceptable.

Try this instead: Resist the temptation to laugh it off or to respond with a smile. Rather, make sure that your reaction​—including your facial expression​—makes it clear to your harasser what you will and will not tolerate.

Sexual harassment quiz

“In middle school, boys would pull on the back of my bra and make derogatory comments​—like how much better I would feel once I had sex with them.”— Coretta.

Do you think that those boys were

  1. Teasing?

  2. Flirting?

  3. Sexually harassing her?

“On the bus, a boy started saying nasty things to me and grabbing me. I smacked his hand away and told him to move. He looked at me like I was crazy.”— Candice.

What do you think that this boy was doing to Candice?

  1. Teasing?

  2. Flirting?

  3. Sexually harassing her?

“Last year, a boy kept telling me that he liked me and that he wanted to go out with me, even though I constantly told him no. Sometimes, he rubbed my arm. I told him to stop, but he wouldn’t. Then, while I was tying my shoe, he smacked my rear end.”​— Bethany.

In your opinion, was this boy:

  1. Flirting?

  2. Teasing?

  3. Sexually harassing her?

The correct answer to all three questions is C.

What makes sexual harassment different from flirting or teasing? “Sexual harassment is one-sided,” says a girl named Eve. “It continues even when you tell the person to stop.” Harassment is serious. Not only can it affect your grades and health but it can also lead to sexual violence.

Curated from JW.ORG

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

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.”

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

Diary of a Zimbo Studying Abroad: Check In – Summer 2018

5 minute read

I auditioned for an accapella group on campus last week (I know, you can gasp out loud). If you’ve lived with me for an extended period of time, you might know that I like to sing, but I would have never dreamt of doing it in front of a group of amazing people sitting behind desks while noting everything I did in their notebooks.

Sadly, I did not perform as well as I had expected to. I find this funny because I thought accapella groups hardly reject people. The other thing is that the only accapella group I auditioned for is one of the best on campus so maybe I was way over my head.

During the audition, I knew that I had not done as well as I had been expecting and I remember feeling dejected for a couple of hours after the audition. I think I was daunted by the fact that the person who auditioned right before me had been so good and sang Stone Cold by Demi Lovato.

Now, I have huge respect for anyone who sings any Demi Lovato song and still sounds good, but that also intimidated me. The other thing might be that I am a decent singer but I am not amazing.

I know that and I have made peace with it. But, the experience revealed to me a few things I had neglected to take note of over the summer/winter break. Here they are, in no particular order.

Take it as it comes
I am one year closer to twenty-one this year, which makes me happy. What makes me happier, however, is the growth I’ve seen in the way I handle disappointment. I am able to be kind to myself and to forgive myself for what I deem to be my failures.

Being able to objectively figure out causes and effects without getting too emotional over them has been another area of growth for me. Understanding that the effort I put in is as important as the outcome has opened up my mind to the possibility of enjoying the ride while I work towards the end goal. The goal was to get into the accapella group.

I spent a lot of time practicing and I enjoyed every moment of going over which song to sing with my friends. I might not have made it into the group, but the process of getting ready for the auditions made me challenge myself and fall back on a support system I had not taken the time to acknowledge last year.

“But if you never try, you’ll never know.”
I love this T-shirt I got two years ago which has a motto on it which I have come to live by without realizing it. I’ve realized that I would rather try, despite going against my defaults, than have questions beginning with the words “What if?” weighing me down. I’ll be honest, I almost did not audition. Just like I almost did not go for the first day of my internship with Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) through the Zimbabwe Career Connect (ZCC) back in June. I have a very deep-seated fear of the unknown.

I lie planning for the future, but when the future becomes reality and I have to get down to doing what it is I set out to do in the first place, I suddenly have trouble breathing or thinking straight.

In both instances, I had to put one foot of the other and keep walking to the place I wanted to go to. Last week while I sat outside listening to the amazing person who sang before me, I almost stood up and left.

In June, during our initial meeting at Education Matters, I sat in a circle with people I did not know and wondered why I would want to be taking a four-hour commute, including time spent in traffic, to and from the WCoZ offices during the Zimbabwean winter. In both cases, I realized that the regret of not knowing what might have been would weigh me down for the longest time.

Book of Gratitude
I began keeping a book of gratitude over my break as an effort to find the little things I enjoyed about my time back at home instead of concentrating on all the negatives that were pervasive to my experience. Writing the three things I was grateful for at the end of each day became my favorite daily ritual and I have promised myself to continue doing it at Wellesley.

My book of gratitude helps me to slow down and appreciate a little bit of the abundant good in my life every day. Without that book of gratitude, I know I would have focused more on the cold weather and my long commute.

Instead, I was grateful for my supervisor’s guidance at WCoZ and the conversations I had with strangers in the combis. Last week, after I got rejected, I know I would have focused more on how I failed to impress and how it made me feel inadequate.

Instead, I was grateful for the support I received and the realization that while the goal matters, the experience is important too. Outside of these two events, I am filled with gratitude for the chance to experience a liberal arts education, the support my family gives me, the people I am coming into contact with and the connections I am making on a daily basis.

Not that I did not appreciate all of this before, but having ten minutes of the day where all I am concentrating on is gratitude has helped me to see this clearly.

Which is to say that..
My summer/winter break was not the best out there; In fact, it was filled with disappointment. My first week of classes has been a whirlwind of excitement, anger, confusion and laughter.

I, however, refuse to police the happiness derived from the experiences which come with seeing one’s family after a while and seeing one’s friends after three months and from simply being home. I have resolved to enjoy the experiences that come my way, walking undaunted and pursuing my goals fearlessly while nurturing the values I cultivate along the journey.

Curated from USAP Perspectives: http://www.edmattersafrica.org

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

3 000 Condoms Used By Students At Masvingo Poly, Many Reject ‘Smelly Madembare’ Contraceptive

Robert Tapfumaneyi
2 minute read

Students at Masvingo Polytechnic College are using at least 3 000 male condoms per month although some are less inspired by what they find as a pungent smell produced by the freely distributed contraceptive during and after use.

This emerged during a recent tour in Masvingo by the National Aids Council (NAC) and some local journalists.

NAC and partner organisations distribute free condoms to so-called HIV/Aids hotspots, with the tertiary institution identified as one of them.

HIV/Aids hot spots are places seen as having a high sexual activity and hence, more likely to experience high infections.

During a stopover at Masvingo Polytechnic, it emerged that the use of the male condom was very high among the adult learners while the uptake of the female condom remained very low.

Only a mere 100 per month were being withdrawn from the condom dispenser installed by NAC within the school premises.

Students said the condoms which were freely obtainable within the school were of cheap quality with their biggest disadvantage being the “disgusting odour” they produced upon use.

Some said they could easily pick out from a group, any individual who has just had sex using the contraceptive.

The much resented condoms are often referred to as madembare.

…Some students are less inspired by what they find as a pungent smell produced by the freely distributed contraceptive during and after use…

“The best you can do for us is to supply students with flavoured condoms,”said Portia Munhukwa, a peer educator with National Aids Council.

“The situation becomes worse when students decide to go and have sex in between lectures… when you come back, everyone can easily pick out the smell and you will feel embarrassed. They are also too oily.

“On the madembare condoms, let me honest with you, they have a bad smell.”

Apart from the unpleasant smell, Portia said, the condoms have helped bring down cases of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) with less than 10 new STI cases now being reported per month compared to hundreds in past years.

“When I started working here in 2018, I discovered that the issue of STIs was a bigger issue, and then we started educating the students on how to protect themselves and promoting the use of condoms,” she said.

“Some of the first year female students will be so young and vulnerable and due to peer pressure, end up looking up to older men to supplement their living costs and in the process, giving in to demands for unprotected sex.

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.