19 March 2018

Zimbabwe: Undenge's Children Ejected From Varsity Over Fees

Photo: The Herald
Former cabinet minister, Samuel Undenge.

Former Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Samuel Undenge's two children studying at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, have been ejected from campus over failure to pay fees.

Bongai Tafadzwa Undenge (third year) and Kumbirai Christian Undenge (second year) have failed to register for the new semester that started last month over fees arrears in excess of R140 000. The two should also raise fees amounting to R60 000 each for the new semester.

They have since been served with a 72-hour notice to vacate the university campus if they do not pay the required fees, which has since lapsed.

The High Court has heard that while the politician's two biological children were suffering, his stepchildren were living a luxurious life at European universities.

The pair's mother, Mrs Angeline Undenge, has filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court on behalf of the children seeking an order compelling the politician to pay the fees.

Mrs Undenge was formerly married to Dr Undenge, but their union was terminated in 2006. Dr Undenge then married his current wife Letina. The politician lost his ministerial position when President Mnangagwa announced the new Cabinet in December last year.

The High Court, in another court case involving Dr Undenge's daughter, ruled that the politician must pay for the children's fees, despite the fact that they would have attained 18 years.

Mrs Undenge said her children were being unfairly treated.

"Because of respondent's failure to pay the sums highlighted above, the college has now cancelled or withdrawn the housing offer and has now demanded that applicants move out of the college within 72 hours," reads her affidavit.

She said the children had not been attending lectures since February 19 this year after failing to meet the 2018 first semester registration deadline by February 16.

Mrs Undenge stated in the court papers that the politician was in contempt of court.

"Respondent has not, in spite of him being under the direction of the court to pay the educational costs, done so, contemptuously," she said.

Mrs Undenge said the children risked failing to complete their studies.

She said she was once threatened by Dr Undenge's wife, who boasted of her links to "the most powerful woman" of the time and blocked the payment of the fees.

"The respondent's wife approached me with a security man threatening me saying she would not allow respondent to pay for foreign university fees for both applicants," she said.

"She further said she would, indeed, achieve it since she was connected to the most powerful woman in the country. When respondent married his fourth woman, he is staying with, they do not have any children, but respondent is the one paying fees for his wife's children, one of which is at a European university.

"Thus, respondent has the luxury to do the best for another man's children, while he is prescribing his biological children to such colleges that offer the lowest fees because he suddenly professes that he has no money for them."

Last week, Dr Undenge, who is on remand for allegedly prejudicing Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) of $12 650, told the court that he was now broke and could not even afford fuel to travel from Chimanimani to Highlands Police Station weekly for the routine reports stipulated in the bail ruling.

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