ZIPRA veterans slam ZANU PF over unpaid tuition fees

Zimbabweans this week marked 33 years of self-rule, but for some former freedom fighters the celebrations were also a reminder of the neglect they continue to suffer from the same government that promised them better welfare at independence.

The leader of the ZIPRA War Vets Trust – the military wing of liberation war outfit ZAPU – told the media Tuesday that members of his group were so poor that they were failing to pay tuition fees for their children.

“It is unfortunate that after having toiled and suffered so much war veterans are wallowing in abject poverty because the government they put into power is not looking after them,” he added.

Magwizi lamented the post-independence treatment at the hands of ZANU PF, saying instead of assisting them with survival skills, they were discarded like “useless logs”.

Magwizi also revealed that the government was failing to pay tuition fees for the children of war vets, with reports that thousands of these children have dropped out of school owing to unpaid fees.

In 1997, the ZANU PF government caved in to demands for gratuities from fed up war vets, many of whom had been left out of the ruling party’s gravy train.

The demands included promises that the government would pay fees for their children but according to Magwizi, the funds are either disbursed late, and often not at all.

“War vets do not have the capacity to pay fees from the meagre $130 monthly allowances they get from government,” Magwizi was quoted in the privately-owned Southern Eye newspaper.

An affected student from the Midlands State University in Gweru, told SW radio Africa that he has had to defer his studies by three semesters while he tries to raise the $600-per-semester required as tuition fees.

The third year information science student, who prefers to be called Munamato for fear of victimisation, said there is a lot of inconsistency in the way the tuition funds are allocated.

“Sometimes it is about who you know. I spend a lot of time travelling from either Gweru or Masvingo in the hope that maybe I might find an understanding person.

But most of the times I am told that there is no money and should try next time. This means that I miss out on a lot of lectures, and this is reflected in the bad grades I get at the end of the semester.”

Munamato said he is not the only one in this situation, but added that things are much worse for orphans like him who also have to contend with paying every other expense themselves.

“Sometimes I have to take time out of university to do cross-border trading just to be able to buy food and pay rent.

“The government needs to understand that most people that can’t pay their own fees have problems meeting their day-to-day living expenses, and at least give them a small allowance,” Munamato added.

As reported in the Southern Eye, thousands of other government funded students have been barred from lectures by institutions which are owed in excess of $100 million in unpaid fees.

Zimbabwe sits on one of the world’s richest diamond fields, in addition to other vast mineral resources. But years of misrule and plunder by ZANU PF have led to extreme deprivation for two-thirds of the country’s population. – SW Radio Africa News

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