Biti embroiled in UZ fees protests

Political Reporter

Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) interim co-vice president, Tendai Biti has been pointed out as the man behind the fees protests that erupted at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) last week.

A source who spoke to this publication said that after the announcement of fees hikes by UZ last week, Biti called for an emergency meeting with UZ Students Representative Council (SRC) president, Allan Chipoyi and urged him to vehemently reject the fees hikes on the basis that they were a hindrance to the right to education.

The source said that when UZ later introduced flexible payment plans for students to settle their fees, Biti again urged the students to challenge the fees hikes in the courts.

“Biti is the man behind the chaos that erupted at UZ last week. He urged students affiliated to the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) to reject the fees hikes. When the protests failed to compel the authorities to reduce the fees, Biti then urged the students to approach the courts to force the institution to rescind its decision on fees hikes,” said the source.

According to the source, UZ students represented by Narshon Kohlo, Paidamoyo Mafusire and Ethel Museswa made an urgent chamber application at the High Court and cited Vice Chancellor, Professor Paul Mapfumo as respondent.

The students hired Biti as their lawyer and they have since described the fees hikes as unreasonable and irrational.

Part of the students’ application prepared by Biti reads, “Raising fees in some cases by a factor of 700% is grossly irrational and unreasonable. The current rate of inflation is 197%. Therefore, raising fees beyond the rate of inflation is simply unsustainable and grossly unreasonable and irrational.”

The source added that UZ SRC president, Chipoyi frequently visited Biti’s offices at 28 Rowland Square, Milton Park to get further instructions on how to challenge authorities at UZ.

Meanwhile, the UZ has announced new fees structures for the August to December 2022 Semester and urged learners to come up with payment plans or apply for loans.