Despite the cases of Cocaine and Marijuana abuse on campuses, Zimbabwean students cry out in demand for access to alcohol in the university campus.
Making its demands known to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development as they toured the university last week, the Zimbabwean students’ Representative Council demanded among other things, that the institution give room for sale of beer on campuses and to disband the “archaic and repressive” students regulations under Ordinance 30.
“Our liquor licence was revoked by the administration authorities, which leaves us with a chance of going outside and contracting a number of things, especially drug abuse,” SRC secretary for legal affairs Thembinkosi Rushwaya said while explaining the need for beer to be sold in school’s campuses.
Rushwaya further noted that a large number of the students have left the campus because the university does not give them room to entertain themselves.
“All that we do on campus is work, work and more work, ” Rushwaya said.
“We need alcohol on campus. We need to have our October 24 bar open. Other than that, more problems are going to arise.”
Reacting to their plea, the MPs queried how lack of alcohol on campus would cause chaos but Rushwaya said banning alcoholic drinks in the campus also increases the risk of students’ involvement in drugs
“One thing that you are missing is that we are all adults. I believe at Parliament there is a cafeteria.
“We need to have entertainment on campus. We can sit down and discuss issues as we integrate, rather than us going outside because drug abuse on campus is on the rise, especially cocaine and marijuana. People are going outside because they are not being entertained,” said Rushwaya.
More so, while answering the Legislators’ questions on whether students who were not on campus were better off than those accommodated at the university, the SRC president Tonderai Dombo said there is a big difference.
“Look, if you read whilst you are drinking your Chibuku, when you are outside campus, you are better off. But when you are inside campus, you have to go outside and buy your Chibuku and come back with Chibuku in your stomach, which is something that is very cruel”
“Let there be access to alcohol. Let there be freedom in a way, in terms of the good laws. I personally do not drink, but you have to look at these issues,” Donbo said.
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On the same hand, the SRC secretary-general Sitshengisani Vuma urged the MPs to go through the ordinance 30 to understand the students’s plight.
“I wish you had a copy so that you could peruse one by one. I am sure you would not survive as a student here under such regulations. You, as MPs have to get a copy of Ordinance 30 and when you read it, you will understand what we are talking about,” he said.
The bar was reportedly closed in the 1990s when authorities felt Zimbabwe students were turning violent during demonstrations because they were drinking alcohol on campus and Dombo said the regulations has caused some of the students to be expelled for breaching it.
“Is it meant to promote education at a higher learning institution of this nature, or it is meant to repress students? If it is meant to repress students, then I will give Ordinance 30, 100 percent because it surely does that,” said Dombo.
The Committee chairperson Dr Peter Mataruse has however, requested that the Ordinance 30 from university authorities be put forward for the committee’s consideration.