Three University of Zimbabwe students were arrested on Thursday after they criticized President Robert Mugabe in his face at the school’s graduation ceremony in Harare.
One of the 3,637 students graduating, Tonderai Dombo, who is the immediate past SRC president, raised a placard before Mugabe that read “Graduated today, unemployed tomorrow.”
Student activist Tonderai Dombo protests,demands jobs as Mugabe presided over UZ graduation.— Charles (@DengedzaC) September 29, 2016
He was shortly arrested by Zanu security agents pic.twitter.com/cLPyvNnkIS
The other student, Zibusiso Tshuma, was arrested after he stood and shouted: “Come on Mugabe … Satan”, local Zimbabwean media report.
“I can confirm that two of our members were arrested during the ceremony at the University of Zimbabwe and they are still in custody as I speak to you,” Promise Mkwananzi, spokesperson for Tajamuka Movement, an anti-government activist group, told AFP.
Local reports added that a law student Andile Mqenqele was also taken by the police for singing an anti-government song “senzeni na?” during the graduation along with other Tajamuka members.
“The government thinks that we can not criticize the President. But we should be able to criticize the head of state more than any other person, because he is responsible for the present chaos,” the Tajamuka spokesperson said.
Gunshots were reportedly fired after the graduates prevented Mugabe and his convoy to leave the campus.
Both police spokespersons Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi and Senior Assistant Inspector Charity Charamba did not comment on the reported incidents.
Zimbabwe has been hit by a wave of street protests in recent months as tensions rise with worsening economic conditions.
Unemployment rate has risen above 80 percent amid cash shortages and many Zimbabweans have taken to social media to organize protests.