University of Zimbabwe (UZ) graduates who waved placards demanding jobs during a recent graduation ceremony are being denied their certificates, according to one of the victims.
Tonderai Dombo, one of the graduating students who surprised many by peacefully protesting against joblessness as President Robert Mugabe, the chancellor of all State universities, capped thousands of graduands.
He was arrested and made to pay a $10 fine for public nuisance.
Dombo told the private media on Wednesday that UZ authorities were refusing with his and other students’ certificates because they had allegedly embarrassed the 92-year-old leader who is presiding over a collapsing economy and unemployment estimated at more than 90 percent.
The Higher and Tertiary Education minister, Jonathan Moyo, used Twitter to warn the protesting students that they risked having their certificates withdrawn.
Dombo said his faculty claimed it did not have his certificate and referred him to the university registrar who blankly told him that the graduate would not get his certificate.
“Firstly, I have been going to my faculty to look for my certificate and I was told it was not there. I was told I should check with the registrar, but at the registrar’s office I was told it was not there as well.
“Officials there told me to leave, but I refused, saying they had to give me a satisfactory answer. I was then told I embarrassed the institution and, as such, I would not receive the certificate. My other colleagues were told the same,” said Dombo.
University security was used to drag him off campus, he said, insisting that he would legally challenge the withholding of his certificate.
“I am now going to take legal action if they insist on not giving me (my certificate). I will look for a lawyer to take up our case, because, as far as I am concerned, they have no legal standing to act in the manner they are doing,” he said.
Dombo added that he was bound to pursue a master’s degree with the same university but has been told that it will no longer be possible.
Daniel Chihombori, the UZ spokesperson, said certificates were issued to graduates on graduation day, when Dombo and others were arrested.
“We suspect that on the day, the said individuals were not at the venue, where the certificates were being issued,” he said.
However, faculties are supposed to keep certificates of those that graduate in absentia. Nehanda Radio