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Mugabe's Presidential Scholarship Program collapses

The Zanu-PF administered Presidential Scholarship Programme is facing collapse following reports that the search of prospective beneficiaries has not taken place for the second year in a row.

The scholarship benefits nearly 4 000 Zimbabwean students annually who are given a chance to study at different universities in South Africa.

Radio Dialogue has established that the state run programme has not advertised for scholarships for prospective students last and this year.

Bulawayo resource person for the scholarship Bulawayo Governor Cain Mathema said the programme had not taken off for this year.

He said he was not aware when the programme can resume.

Director of the presidential scholarship programme Chris Mushowe was not available for comment but admitted in the local media that they were facing financial constraints. Tendai Biti the Minister of Finance recently refused to fund Robert Mugabe’s private U$54m /year Scholarship Scheme saying President Robert Mugabe should mobilise resources to bankroll the scholarship.

Biti said treasury cannot continue to bankroll the controversial scheme as it is Mugabe’s personal initiative.

There are reports that the scheme is facing budgetary constraints with Zimbabwe’s students struggling at South African colleges.

An estimated 4 000 Zimbabwean students are studying at different universities in South Africa.

An average 250 students per institution are enrolled at 15 universities in South Africa.

These include the University of Johannesburg, University of Kwazulu-Natal (UKZN), University of Pretoria, Monash University, and Fort Hare University.

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  1. The President of Zimbabwe and his government have deserted the recipients (students) of the infamous Presidential scholarship. These students who are currently studying at various tertiary institutions in a neighboring country, South Africa, have been deserted by their beneficiary to not only fund their own education which can cost up to as much as R80 000 per year as well as other living expenses. This scholarship has been a thorn in the side of many Zimbabweans as it has been associated with enriching young people associated with the ruling party, ZANU PF. However what many people fail to understand is that there are few other children who happened to get this scholarship purely on academic merit. Now should this few suffer for the sins that their government has committed? Should these few resort to prostitution, drug dealing or even thievery just to make it one day in a foreign land? It must not be forgotten that some of the children are the breadwinners of the families they left behind. They are also most probably the first generation of graduates in their respective families. It’s time for the government of Zimbabwe to become responsible for the lives that they are so willing to put into jeopardy. Pay your dues, and let us the students not suffer anymore!

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