Protests Mount Over Police Brutality, Expulsion Of Kenyan
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) _ Professors and students at the University of Zimbabwe joined forces Thursday to protest alleged police brutality against anti-government demonstrators and the expulsion of a Kenyan.
The political science department issued a statement supporting the faculty of the law school, which earlier this week denounced police action during student protests in September and called for a review of the deportation on Friday of Shadrack Gutto, a Kenyan-born lecturer at the school.
Hundreds of riot police with dogs, batons and tear gas broke up the Sept. 29 demonstrations by thousands of university students protesting alleged government corruption in Zimbabwe.
Hospital officials said scores of police and students were injured in clashes and more than 480 people were arrested in the bloodiest violence since Zimbabwe won its independence from Britain in 1980. Students said police attacked them without warning.
On Oct. 6, the Home Affairs Ministry gave Gutto 48 hours to leave the country. The Kenyan, who for six years taught at the law school and advocated radical socialist policies, was accused of being an illegal immigrant. He flew to London on Friday.
The political science faculty said in Thursday’s statement they were ″greatly disturbed″ at police treatment of student demonstrators and Gutto’s deportation ″without due process.″
The president of the University’s Students Representative Council, Edgar Mwembwe, said Thursday that police attacks on protesters were like ″police brutality in South Africa.″
On Wednesday, the law school faculty issued a statement protesting police behavior and requesting a meeting with President Robert Mugabe to discuss the expulsion of Gutto. Some students and professors said they believed the Kenyan was kicked out because authorities believed he fanned the unrest.
Mugabe has defended his government against corruption charges, saying there was no evidence justifying the protests.
Students and lecturers have been major supporters of Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union (Patriotic Front) and its socialistic policies since the president led Zimbabwe to independence on April 18, 1980.
But student leader Mwembwe said the demonstrations were ″not the end but just the beginning of what is to come - the capaign against corruption, negligence of duty, betrayal and paying of lip service to the goals and aspirations the nation has set towards socialism.″
He insisted no faculty members, including Gutto, were involved in the September protests.