Auxilia Katongomara, Chronicle Reporter
Chaos reigned supreme at Lupane State University main campus in Lupane yesterday as students stoned Vice Chancellor Professor Pardon Kuipa’s car during protests against what they described as a poor diet.
Sources at the campus said rowdy students have since Tuesday been chanting songs denouncing Professor Kuipa and the Dean of Students, Mr Honest Ncube accusing them of turning a deaf ear to complaints over poorly prepared meals, incessant power cuts and poor security at the university.
The students allegedly stormed management offices, demanding to meet Prof Kuipa and Mr Ncube before looting cooked and uncooked food from service providers.
About 350 students were moved to the main campus after years of learning at different venues in Bulawayo.
The students say they are tired of eating poorly prepared meals and incessant power cuts at the university which disturbs their studies.
According to sources, the demonstrations began at 11AM and were still on by last night.
Students who spoke to The Chronicle said they have raised the issues with the university’s management but nothing has been done.
“Everyone has complained of the poorly prepared meals we’re getting from service providers. The food is so bad that sometimes we prefer to eat junk food like maputi but one cannot survive on that,” said a student who declined to be named for fear of victimisation.
“We’ve been complaining since we came here but no action has been taken by the institution. Ukudla kwabo kuyagulisa (Their food makes us sick.) Yesterday we decided to say enough is enough, we cannot tolerate this any more.”
Students said the university mainly relies on a generator for electricity, which they said is switched off at 10PM when they want to study or write assignments.
“If they are not ready to have us here, we should go back to Bulawayo,” said another student.
“There is no security at the hostels. Outsiders come in as they please with no proper checking. We fear our valuables will be stolen.”
The students demanded that the Students’ Executive Council (SEC) be disbanded as it was failing to represent them.
Efforts to get a comment from the university’s Student’s Executive Council President Mr Arthur Lunga and acting Vice President Ms Charmaine Mudawu were unsuccessful as they became unreachable after this reporter introduced herself.
LSU information and public relations officer Mr Zwelithini Dlamini confirmed the demonstrations and acknowledged issues raised by the students.
“I was not around yesterday (Tuesday) but I’ve spoken to the Dean of students and the issues that they are raising revolve around their welfare here on campus.
“We’ve been having a challenge with power, we have a line that supplies us here and that line seems to be faulty and we’ve been relying on back-up power from a generator.
“As you know it cannot run for 24 hours, it has to be switched off after some time,” said Mr Dlamini.
He said the complaint about Zesa power could have been a result of lack of communication as there would be power at the shopping centre which is supplied by a different line prompting the students to think that they are being sabotaged.
Mr Dlamini said the issue of power had been attended to temporarily by connecting to another line.
He said the university had engaged four caterers to improve the preparation of meals as the university’s kitchen is still under construction.
“On security, the security officer has told me they have put additional manpower to beef up security. We are hoping all those measures will address the students’ concerns,” said Mr Dlamini.
Article Source: The Chronicle