Zimbabwean women took to the streets yesterday to demand free education for their children.
Thousands of women made up the protesters who gathered on the streets of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe.
This will add to an already impressive list of protests in the country directed against the government for various issues.
The protest for free education was dubbed #BoycottSchoolFees and it was organised by the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) organisation who have presented a petition to the resident minister ahead of the new school term early next month.
About 2000 women showed up for the protest. Jennie Williams, WOZA coordinator, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation; “We want government to honour its constitutional obligation to provide education for all,”
Parent associations say that thousands of children have been thrown out of classes around the country for failing to pay tuition. Considering that labour unions estimate that up to 90 percent of Zimbabwe’s 14 million people do not have jobs, the money to pay the tuition simply does not exist.
UNICEF released a recent report which showed a downward spiral in school attendance. The report, however, did not have an exact pulse on the number of students in classrooms. Zimbabwe Vulnerability Committee reported last month that up to 15 percent of rural school children were out of school because they cannot afford tuition fees.
None of the Zimbabwean women protesters were arrested in Thursday’s march. This is good news considering that police has arrested more than 100 protesters across the country over the past two months.
The protest lasted for over an hour with women carrying petitions and flyers to hand out to onlookers. It is left to see the government’s reaction to this particular protest but it is obvious that something must give very soon in Zimbabwe, because the citizens seem fed up on all fronts.