By Professor Mutodzi
Gweru, August 25, 2016 – A High Court judge has ordered the reinstatement of a Midlands State University (MSU) student who had been suspended by the tertiary institution for allegedly branding an MDC-T placard on campus.
MSU authorities recently suspended Archbold Elias Madida for allegedly holding a placard inscribed “MSU Students support MDC-T” on campus.
This followed an anti-government protest staged recently in Gweru by Tsvangirai and his MDC-T party.
The MSU authorities had claimed that Madida’s conduct was “harmful to the interests of the university”.
However, Madida, with assistance from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) member Takashinga Pamacheche of Gundu and Dube Legal Practitioners filed an urgent chamber application in the Bulawayo High Court.
He was challenging his suspension which he argued amounted to victimisation and sought an order to have it set aside.
On Tuesday, High Court Judge Francis Bere ordered MSU and Professor Ngwabi Bhebhe, who were cited as respondents respectively, to allow Madida to pursue his studies at the university.
“The applicant (Madida) be and is hereby allowed to be on the university’s premises, attend lectures, participate in university programmes and have access to all university facilities,” reads part of the order granted Tuesday by Bere.
Bere also ordered that Madida’s suspension pending a disciplinary hearing against him be permanently lifted.
Prior to being suspended, MSU security personnel had on Tuesday 16 August 2016 escorted Madida from MSU’s Zvishavane campus to the university’s Gweru main campus, where the authorities had scheduled to convene a disciplinary hearing for him.
However, Madida’s lawyer was later advised that no hearing was to take place but that just an enquiry was to be held which was conducted in the office of the Chief Security Officer only identified as Chademana.
Madida denied all the allegations leveled against him and insisted that the authorities proceed in whatever manner they deemed fit.
Madida’s lawyer also resisted attempts by Chademana to have the legal practitioner leave the university premises without her client which Pamacheche refused to do and insisted that the security personnel ensures that the MSU student travels back to Zvishavane campus as they were the ones who had escorted him to Gweru.
In the end, the MSU security personnel capitulated and made some arrangements to facilitate Madida’s return to Zvishavane campus.
Students at state-run universities and other tertiary institutions, most of them derelict after years of under-funding and mismanagement by President Robert Mugabe’s administration, have been participating in countrywide anti-government protests organised by pro-democracy activists, which are becoming routine as the country’s political and economic crisis worsens.