|Students arrested, assaulted for wearing Learnmore Jongwe T-shirts
By Henry Makiwa
4 December 2007
Police in Kwekwe on Sunday arrested and severely assaulted five student leaders for wearing T-shirts with a portrait of the late MDC spokesman, Learnmore Jongwe.
Mehluli Dube, Laswet Savadye, Whitlow Mugwiji, Stephen Chisungo and Gordon Mukarakati were arrested at a police roadblock while travelling from a Zimbabwe National Students Unions (ZINASU) leadership-training workshop in Bulawayo. Police accused them of inciting public disorder by wearing Jongwe’s T-shirts and detained them overnight at Kwekwe Central Police Station. They were later released without charge on Monday morning.
Dube, who has pending treason charges against him, for allegedly calling for the overthrow of Robert Mugabe, sustained a fractured tooth. He said fellow student leaders Mukarati and Savadye, incurred bruises and lacerations all over their bodies from the beatings.
Dube said: “We were given some rough treatment indeed. The police kept us in the open cold by the roadside from 8:30pm to around 11:00pm when we were then taken to the police station and detained for the night.
While in the hands of police, we were subjected to severe beatings by the police officers who used clenched fists and baton sticks.”
Jongwe, who was a former legislator of Kuwadzana constituency, died in prison in 2002. He was the first spokesman of the MDC at its formation in 1999 and an outspoken student activist.
Harassment of students has escalated as the government refuses to address critical issues in the education sector, including unaffordable fees and accommodation.