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Zimbabwe-based students camp again at embassy

Author: Jale Richard | Published: Sunday, October 18, 2020

File: Some students show their frustration at the Harare embassy last year.

Some South Sudanese students on government scholarships in Zimbabwe have again camped at the Harare Embassy after being forced out of campuses.

The students who are waiting for graduation next week say their universities forced them out of hostels last week due to coronavirus restrictions and unpaid university dues.

The President of South Sudan Students’ Union in Zimbabwe says 28 of them have been at the embassy for a week now.

“The universities don’t want to allow those students to stay at campuses because it has been a lot of accumulation of arrears, so they pushed us out of campuses so that our government takes responsibility,” James Maluach Malith told Eye Radio on Sunday.

“We have been communicating with the government in Juba, we have even sent letters requesting them to support the situation that we are currently in at the embassy.”

However, Mr. Maluach says they have not received any message from Juba.

“It has been a week now at the embassy, we are trying to find ways on how the government could assist us. But when our message reached Juba, some of the government officials are even denying that we are on government scholarships. That is why we are just left on the ground without any assistance.”

“We are calling for the urgent rescue from the government. They should also get air tickets for some students who cannot afford it.” Mr. Maluach appealed.

For years, South Sudanese students in Zimbabwe have been at loggerheads with the government in Juba over tuition fees and other outstanding payments.

Last year, some students graduated from various universities in Zimbabwe but claimed to have returned home without academic transcripts.

Mr. Maluach fears if the government does not clear tuition arrears, the remaining students would not be allowed to graduate or even be denied academic transcripts.

“Some students who graduated in July and some are going to graduate next week. But we can’t graduate because the government of South Sudan didn’t pay the arrears,” Maluach said.

Last year, the former Minister of Higher Education, Lam Oral Tut said the responsibility of paying the tuition fees for students in Zimbabwe lies with the Ministry of Finance and not his office.

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