THE University of Zimbabwe, forced to shut down following unrest over food and poor conditions of learning, Wednesday made a volte face and announced “immediate issues that required attention had been resolved”.
This comes after the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) threatened legal action if the decision to shut down was not reversed.
In an angry letter, the lawyers’ group demanded that authorities give enough notice to allow learners time to pack their belongings.
In a sign that UZ was fearful of the consequences, Vice Chancellor Levi Nyagura issued a statement early Wednesday announcing that the varsity was re-opening.
“Following an earlier statement issued yesterday (Tuesday) advising students, the general public and indeed the University of Zimbabwe Community that the institution was going on recess until 24 March 2015, I am happy to advise that urgent issues that needed immediate attention have now been resolved; consequently, lectures resumed today 18 March 2015 at 0800hrs,” Nyagura said.
Resident students who had been ordered out of campus by 1500hrs Tuesday were asked to “return to their hostels immediately and attend lectures as usual”.
Nyagura paid tribute to Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Oppah Muchinguri “for her timely intervention to address the urgent issues”.
Problems at the country’s tertiary institutions were triggered by non-payment of salaries to lecturer who downed tools at the Midlands State University, the UZ as well as the Great Zimbabwe University in Masvingo.
There were unconfirmed reports Wednesday that tensions were simmering at the National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo over the same issues.
Sensing a snowball effect on an already volatile environment President Robert Mugabe’s cash-strapped government announced it had released the outstanding salaries to lecturers.
Muchinguri told journalists at a press briefing that in trying to resolve the issues government had mobilised funds for the salaries.