Protest over abuse of scholarship fund

DURBAN - The University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) will next week see disgruntled Zimbabweans demonstrate against Zimbabwe's resources being squandered on educating children of the ruling elite.
The Zimbabwean government is spending over R10 million a year for the children of

senior Zanu (PF) and government officials to study at the university under the presidential scholarship programme, documents obtained by this newspaper reveal.
The presidential scholarship is meant to help disadvantaged but academically gifted Zimbabwean students with tertiary education.
However, our investigations have shown that over 30 students related to senior government and Zanu (PF) officials are benefiting from this programme.
An invoice sent to Chris Mushowe, the Minister of Transport and Communications and presidential director – a copy of which is in the hands of The Zimbabwean – shows that the government paid an initial deposit of almost a R1 million (Z$30 trillion) for 20 students.
“The Zimbabwean government is heartless, as it is failing to improve the education system in the country but using the resources meant for that to send their children to elite colleges outside the country,” said John Chikwari, the secretary-general of Revolutionary Youth Movement.
As a result, we have decided to hold a demonstration at the university to show the world what is happening in Zimbabwe. We also hope that the university is going to know that it is making super profits from the sweat of suffering Zimbabwean taxpayers.”
Amongst the so-called ‘disadvantaged students’ at UKZN are Chipo and Hillary Matibiri – President Robert Mugabe’s niece and nephew. Hillary was a magistrate in Zimbabwe until he resigned to take up the scholarship.
Other students are Laura Sibanda the daughter of Zimbabwe National Army general, Major-general Phillip Sibanda; Simbarashe Masoka, the son of agriculture permanent secretary, Ngoni Masoka; and Brigadier Phillip Kundishora’s twin daughters, Jacqueline and Elinor.
Australia recently deported the children of high-ranking government officials who were studying there. Now there are fears those children will be sent to UKZN.
In Zimbabwe, a crisis is brewing at the country’s oldest university, the University of Zimbabwe, after only a quarter of the students turned up for a new semester that began last week while acute accommodation and financial problems kept thousands others away.

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