Ellah Mukwati Herald Reporter
Scores of University of Zimbabwe students are sleeping on floors as accommodation woes worsen at the institution as a result of the introduction of two intakes. Sources said the institution upped its intake from about 3 000 to 4 600, thereby stretching its facilities. The Herald witnessed hundreds of students from as far as Chipinge and Bulawayo still stranded without accommodation, despite having paid full fees to cater for their upkeep.
Attempts to get a comment from the University of Zimbabwe’s director of information, Mr Daniel Chihombori, were futile as he said he was busy attending to other important matters.
However, in an earlier statement published on the University of Zimbabwe’s website, Mr Chihombori stated that the two intakes were meant to reduce the waiting period for students.
“Traditionally, the university’s academic year has been starting in August, yet students get their results in February. By enrolling students in August that meant students had to wait and during that period these people have nothing to do, so the issue is motivated more by reducing this waiting period.”
Student leader Lonias Rozvi Majoni, who is affiliated to the Zimbabwe Congress of Student Unions, told The Herald that the introduction of the two intakes seemed to have been rushed as the institution was failing to cope with the large volumes of students enrolled this year.
“The situation is chaotic; the rooms which were built to accommodate one person are now being used by two or more people who sleep on bunk beds. You know the effects of poor ventilation. This mostly affects the students who occupy the upper part of the bunk bed as they are just a few inches from the ceiling,” he said.
Students Dean Dr Munyaradzi Madambi, whose mandate is to attend to students issues, referred all questions to Mr Chihombori.
Some stranded students who spoke to The Herald on condition of anonymity said they were still waiting to be allocated proper accommodation and beds.
“We are just waiting for the beds to come and some of us are sleeping on the floor as we have no other alternative,” said one of the affected students.
Another student from Bulawayo, who claimed to have paid full fees including boarding, said she was squatting with a friend who had been allocated a room.
“I am staying with my friend in her room although I secured a place in the campus residence and paid for it. There are no beds in some rooms and it has affected us badly because we are opting to sleep on the floor and the small rooms are overcrowded,” said the student.