The Zimbabwe National Students Union is a conglomeration of tertiary students across Zimbabwe. It provides national student representation plus demand driven solidarity and support to the student movement and human rights defenders in Zimbabwe, has student victims of human rights abuse in terms of the privatisation of education and attack on academic freedoms as its primary target group for its initiatives and also thrives for female participation in defence of democracy and human rights as this has proved to be a major challenge for almost all mass movements in Zimbabwe.
Historically, the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) has been at the centre of providing relevant, effective national student representation of Zimbabwean college students. This has been the history or trajectory of ZINASU since the turn of the new millennium from the glorious days of the late 1990s and early years of the new millennium, which saw the institution winning the prestigious International Students Peace Prize for Human Rights in Norway in 2003.
Involvement in Politics
Student unionism in Zimbabwe has become synonymous with party politics, compromising the unions’ ability to represent students and causing a great number of tertiary students who want nothing to do with party politics to actually shun national unions.
The Zimbabwe National Students’ Union or ZINASU – the biggest students’ body in the country – is linked to the Movement for Democratic Change or MDC, the country’s largest opposition party. The second biggest students’ union, Zimbabwe Congress of Student Unions or ZICOSU, is linked to the ruling party Zanu PF. Smaller unions, many of which purport to be independent, are curiously the least autonomous and work directly to fulfil the agendas of political parties.
The first national students’ union to ever exist in Zimbabwe, ZINASU, was totally divorced from party politics when it was re-launched in 1997 after a long period of latency. Even in its formative stages in the late 1980s, ZINASU had nothing to do with political parties in as far as its internal workings and politics were concerned. The same applied to ZICOSU which was formed by students disgruntled with ZINASU.
The involvement of ZINASU in the formation of the MDC in 1999 officially marked the beginning of its long and complicated love-hate relationship with that party. ZICOSU on the other hand was hijacked by the ruling party after its formation in the late 1990s.
- President - Takudzwa Ngadziore
- Secretary General - Tapiwanashe Chiriga
Zimbabwe National Student Union (ZINASU) was awarded the Student Peace Prize in 2003 for their struggle for student rights and democracy.