Windhoek-Despite assurances that Namibian students in Zimbabwe are safe following a coup in that country, some students are in limbo as they don’t know whether their graduation ceremony will take place next Friday as scheduled.
The students’ uncertainty come days after the Zimbabwean military took over that country’s government, with tanks and heavily-armed soldiers deployed in the streets of Harare by Wednesday, while President Robert Mugabe was being detained.
In an exclusive interview with New Era yesterday, Fanuel Mweshindongwe, who is the representative of Namibian students studying in Zimbabwe at Midlands University in Gweru, confirmed they are all safe.
“I can assure you that Namibian students are safe at the moment. The situation is not violent. But we are afraid that the situation might get violent if the president [Robert Mugabe] refuses to step down. Everyone was scared when the issue started because soldiers were deployed all over the country. We were scared because the soldiers have guns and they look like they are going to war. They are armed and are not laughing,” he revealed.
He noted that when they left the campus, the armed soldiers were moving around the university.
Mweshindongwe, who arrived in Namibia yesterday via Ngoma border post, east of Katima Mulilo, is a honours student in biology. He said Namibian students living in that country number less than 200.
He confirmed the majority of them have since Wednesday returned to Namibia as they have completed their final exams, although about 50 students are still in Zimbabwe because they still have to write exams.
“We are supposed to graduate on the 24th of this month. The president [Mugabe] was supposed to attend our graduation ceremony, but now we are not sure what will happen since he is under house arrest,” Mweshindongwe said with uncertainty.
He said because of the military situation the majority of them decided to come home since they are done with their exams, while they await to hear from the Namibian embassy in Zimbabwe about their graduation fate.
He said on their way back to Namibia soldiers, who have since taken over the roadblocks which used to be manned by police officers, were searching everyone’s belongings.
“There are no more police officers at roadblocks, just soldiers who are searching all vehicles. They are not asking for anything. They just say bring your bags and they search themselves without saying a word. It’s quite a scary situation,” Mweshindongwe, who is originally from Okongo in Ohangwena Region, said.
The International Relations and Cooperation Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah on Wednesday assured the nation that Namibian students in Zimbabwe and staff members of Namibian institutions were safe.