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Students question Mthuli Ncube over rampant government corruption

University students have summoned Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube to explain government failure to prioritise funding for education and amid rampant corruption in the public sector.

In a letter issued on Friday to Ncube, Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) president Boris Muguti asked the Minister why the Treasury is failing to fund education when the country is rich with natural resources.

ZINASU is a union of students from all tertiary institutions across the country.

“ZINASU seeks to promote and advance section 75 of the national constitution which stipulates that every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe has a right to a basic state-funded education including adult basic education.

“As students’ representatives, we subscribe to the notion that the government should execute its mandate which is to provide free and quality education in accordance with the constitution of Zimbabwe.

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“This is instrumental to guarantee an inclusive and accessible education to all Zimbabweans in their diversities,” read the letter.

ZINASU further indicated that a number of students had to defer studies as they could not afford fees.

“We note with high concern, consistent statements from the government over its incapacitation to fund fundamental social services. The failure of the government to prioritize funding for education has led to unruly and anarchic fees increment being enforced by institutions of learning.

“This has been a catastrophic blow to the society which continues to bleed from financial mismanagement. Students have been forced to defer their studies due to financial constraints, moreover most of them are born of civil servants who can barely afford a quarter of the charged fee.

“This is a clear indication that the nation has suffered an ideological blow as only a minority and privileged class can access fundamental rights that our forefathers fought for,” Muguti wrote.

The students union said it was also concerned with systematic corruption now rife in government as has been exposed by the Al Jazeera “Gold Mafia” documentary recently.

“We are alarmed by the manner in which corruption has systematically embedded in the system and culture of governance yet a lot remains unresolved. The level of impunity on corrupt government actors and officials is shocking.

“We submitted some reports of corruption to offices within the government and we continue to seek ways to combat corruptions as this affects service delivery and puts a death nail to our economy.

“The recent findings from the A Jazeera screened documentary illuminated the already known magnitude of corruption in the country and it is our utmost desire to put an end to the smuggling of national resources.

“We believe that if resources are channelled to the national interests the economy will be revived and free education can be a possibility in our lifetime,” ZINASU said.

The union further asked the following questions:

1. Why are students and teachers poor when their country is rich like what was exposed in the Gold Mafia Documentary?

2. Why does the government fail to provide free and quality education when we are making millions of dollars from Gold, platinum, diamonds, lithium among other minerals?

3. Why is it difficult for the government to offer students grants when it is harnessing millions of dollars from gold exports?

4. Why is the government through your Ministry wasting taxpayers money funding the operations of ZACC, $23mil USD/year when it is clear that it is completely dysfunctional and incompetent apart from “catching and releasing?”

5. Is your Ministry in keeping with the liberation ethos of power to the people, or it’s now happiness to a few global mafia kings? Do you sleep well making an average $10million USD/month whilst civil servants struggle with $225USD/month?