THE ZAOGA-run Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University (ZEGU) has barred five aspiring Student Executive Council (SEC) candidates from contesting on grounds that they cannot speak in tongues and are not “spirit filled” to lead students.
The students have since approached the High Court seeking a reprieve.
ZEGU is named as first respondent, its registrar Innocent Chinyemba is the second respondent while dean of students Zacharia Zunguze is the third respondent.
Presidential candidate Modester Zinhanga, Godcares Nyereyemhuka (vice president), Trish Chimanda (secretary general), Chris Zindi (Minister of Finance) and Obedience Mupezeni (Minister of Religion and Gender) were all shut out.
According to court papers, the five went through all processes that included nomination and interviews handled by Zunguze, who later communicated that they had all been disqualified based on a section in the institution’s student handbook, amended this year.
The five are being represented by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum.
“I successfully filed an application for nomination on the 1st of November 2021, expressing my interest to run in the upcoming elections for the Students Executive Council which is University’s student representative body,” the court papers read.
“Zunguze received my application and facilitated interviews on the 3rd of November 2021. I successfully participated in the interviews, which were presided over by Zunguze on behalf of the university. On the 5th of November 2021 around 1500hours Zunguze issued communication disqualifying my candidature together with a few other candidates. Zunguze insists that the decision to disqualify me is based on Section 9 of the students’ handbook which states that I am not a member of ZAOGA, that I failed to show evidence of speaking in tongues and that I am not born again and spirit-filled,” the papers further read.
“These requirements are claimed to have been introduced by the new students’ handbook 2021 Edition under Section 9. However, this is contrary to what has been the tradition and practice in previous elections, elections have always been governed by the Students Executive Council constitution.”
In 2019, ZEGU was caught offside when it suspended a student for questioning why the institution had raised fees without notifying or consulting them.
He was charged for engaging in a conduct that is likely to be harmful to the interests of the university.