HARARE – Running battles between riot police and students at the University of Zimbabwe rocked the campus after students demonstrated in solidarity with their lecturers and kitchen staff who downed their tools this morning.
This comes after Midlands State University (MSU) and National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) lecturers embarked on an industrial action, protesting the late payment of February salaries.
On Monday MSU lecturers did not report for duty following a meeting held last Friday which gave government an ultimatum to explain the delay in disbursing salaries.
Lecturers in all state universities have not yet been paid their February salaries.
Sources at the University of Zimbabwe said government is prioritising government sectors which may be a threat to them at the expense of lecturers.
“How can you justify the fact that the military personnel have been paid their March salaries while we are still waiting for our February salaries,” said one lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe.
The government started disbursing March salaries to all uniformed forces from Wednesday last week.
Three tear gas canisters were shot at the marauding students by the riot police at the Students Union building where they are trying to gather.
One student at the UZ said the demonstration is in solidarity with the lecturers who should be paid their salaries so that they can continue attending lectures.
“We want to add our voice to that of the lecturers. Government should pay them so that we can also be attended to,” the student said.
Sources from Bindura university told Nehanda Radio that lecturers were last week advanced $200 each so that they can continue coming to work until they get their salaries.
However, the source said tempers are simmering as clandestine meetings are underway to join in the industrial action.
Zimbabwe has been rocked by demonstrations since last week when MDC-T youths clashed with police over the disappearance of activist Itai Dzamara.
On Friday prisoners also demonstrated at the Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison over poor living conditions and lack of food.
Last week a cabinet Minister, Jonathan Moyo admitted that the majority of Zimbabweans are angry and a solution to the problems is needed urgently.
In one of his Facebook posts last week Moyo said he received so many insulting messages which show that the nation is angry.
“After a whole week of reading the insults that were sent my way, I’ve come out with the distinct feeling that some compatriots out there have a lot of anger that they want to get out of their chests,” Moyo said.Nehandaradio