The recent fees announcement by the University of Zimbabwe has created a storm on social media and a literal riot. Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti has waded into the controversy by calling the new fees unjustified and illegal. This follows the UZ’s fees announcement that saw the average fees being raised from $120 000 ZWL last semester to $480 000 ZWL (about US$800 at current official rates). Some programs have fees as high as $1 million Zimbabwean dollars.

The massive tuition fee increases of over 700% at the University of Zimbabwe are irrational and unlawful.

Asking parents to fork out US$1 300 per semester for tuition alone is ridiculous.

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Moreso when UZ received an additional $4.5 billion in the Supplementary Budget to take the total to $7.9 billion.

Education is a basic human right protected by section 88 of the Constitution. It is at the core of the right to human dignity.

ZANU PF’s actions at UZ are a blatant assault on the right to education. They betray the absence of an ideology or inner morality guiding the regime. Shocking bankruptcy.

Former Finance Minister Biti on the new fees

The general sentiment against the new fees is that while they are economically justified they are unaffordable. Some have questioned the government’s move to allow the University of Zimbabwe to raise fees when at the same time they have dragged their feet when it comes to reviewing the fees of civil servants. There has also been outrage with University of Zimbabwe students embarking on a #feesmustfall protest that was nipped in the bud by riot police. The government has, for now, remained obstinate that the new fees will stand and has suggested that students can resort to using Student Loans which are administered by the CBZ on commercial terms. Generally most Zimbabweans do not qualify for loans as they lack suerty or collateral.