17 October 2017

Zimbabwe: Zim Students Starve in Russia

Photo: Joseph Nyadzayo/The Herald
President Robert Mugabe talks to Russian President Vladimir Putin (file photo).

President Robert Mugabe on Monday embarked on another international jaunt that will squeeze more millions out of the national purse with his wife Grace scheduled to arrive in Russia on a private jet and top Zanu PF youths are in Moscow for a shadowy gathering.

And as the country's 93-year-old leader and his wife went gallivanting, it emerged that Zimbabwean students on government scholarships in Russia are starving. Ironically, the ruling Zanu PF party's youth secretary and some party activists also happen to be in Russia.

A representative of Zimbabwean students in Moscow Tuesday send out an SOS to higher education minister Jonathan Moyo, describing a desperate situation.

"My name is Hubert Nyabadza, I am the Zimbabwean students in Russia association president. If you could help me Sir. Students here have a big problem," Nyabadza said in a message to Moyo on microblogging social media site Twitter.

"We are starving Sir, some of us want to go back home. Mr Mushohwe (Department of National Scholarships in the President's Office) has done anything about it. Please inform him about this matter please if you can".

Moyo initially asked "what is the problem Cde Nyabadza" before promising:

"Message noted and will be forwarded as a matter of urgency".

Nyabadza added: "We are starving and some of my fellow students might be expelled from school because of unpaid debts. We are never given money.

"We do not know who to talk to, the ones we talk to always tell us kuti hakuna mari ku (there is no money in) government. But we hear that the President Cde Mugabe will (be travelling)".

Zanu PF UK chairperson Nick Mangwana posted a picture of Zanu PF politburo secretary for youth Kudzi Chipanga with other leaders apparently enjoying their time in Sochi, Russia and Nyabadza pleaded for audience.

"(We need) to talk to anyone in Sochi representing Zimbabwe, it's very important. Your response is highly appreciated thank you," he said.

Mushowe was only appointed last week moving from the ministry of Information after Mugabe reshuffled his Cabinet. He however has always been in charge of Presidential Scholarships which operates as a department in Mugabe's office.

Mugabe left the country for Uruguay on Monday to attend a World Health Organisation meeting while Kudzanayi Chipanga is in Sochi Russia for an obscure youth gathering where the Zanu PF leader is expected to be "honoured for fighting imperialism". Grace was reportedly heading to Moscow through China in a private jet to join Chipanga and his entourage.

For years Mugabe has under a presidential scholarship scheme send out dozens of students to study in different "friendly" countries with little in terms of assistance. Zimbabwean students based in South Africa have been hardest hit with some dropping out as fees were not paid.

In the first six months of the year, Mugabe had already blown over $50 million on travel alone and there is no sign of letting up despite failing health and age apparently taking a hold on the former guerrilla leader.

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