South Sudanese Students in Zimbabwe Shut Down the Embassy in Harare Over $1.4 Million School Arrears

Posted: June 19, 2019 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Education, Mabil Manyok Nhial, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

South Sudanese Students in Zimbabwe Shut Down the South Sudanese Embassy in Harare Over Unpaid $1.4 million School Arrears that was approved by the Council of Ministers in Juba, South Sudan

By Mabil Manyok Nhial, Gweru, Zimbabwe

South Sudanese Student Shut Down the Embassy in Harare.jpg
South Sudanese Student Shut Down the Embassy in Harare.jpg

Wednesday, June 19, 2019 (PW) — A group of 130 South Sudanese students on a Government Scholarship, have, today shut down the Embassy of South Sudan to Southern African Countries of Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique, which is based in Harare, Zimbabwe. The South Sudanese Students came to Zimbabwe four ago on a Government Scholarship with the hope of coming to study their various courses and going back with their academic documents. However, what has now seen the light of day is sadly unfortunate. Some 79 students, who recently finished their four-year programmes, have been denied their academic testimonials as a result of substantial arrears, which the Government of South Sudan has not yet paid.

All 130 students have now occupied and shut down the Embassy because they believe that the Embassy of South Sudan to three Southern African countries, based in Harare, represents their Government. They tried all the possible means to talk to the Government, but their intention did not bear any fruits. Therefore, they decided to occupy and shut the Embassy down because this would give pressure to the Minister of Finance to release the approved amount of money as soon as reasonably needed.   

Zimbabwean Public Universities have been so kind in that they have been providing accommodation, feeding and lectures to students even when the arrears have not been cleared. Now, these universities have been forced by the situation to deny giving students their transcripts because of fees, which have not been paid for three semesters. Students’ fees in their accounts have gone as high as US$7000 and above per student.

It is indisputable that they will not graduate if the arrears are not cleared off. A few of them are afraid missing the graduation on 12th July this year. Others are due to graduate in November this year. Those studying Medicine, Law, Engineering and others who came a semester late, will graduate next year in July and November. The denial by the universities to give academic testimonials came as a result of these arrears thereof.

Most students who were doing four-year courses successfully finished, but it is quite unfortunate that they have not yet got their transcripts despite their call to have their accounts cleared so that they can get their academic documents. Majority of the students who are still pursuing their courses are those studying five-year programmes such as Law, Engineering and Medicine together with a few who came to Zimbabwe a bit late. All these students urge the Government to put some pressure on the Minister of Finance to release the money as a matter of urgency.

The most annoying thing is that the two Ministries in the names of Finance and Higher Education are literally in existence, but have successfully failed to do the needful! This is so because the Ministry of finance takes such unnecessary long time to release any such money meant not only for students in Zimbabwe, but also some other students in other countries like Ethiopia, Egypt among others.

The release usually becomes convoluted even when the Council of Ministers approves it. The same thing cannot be gainsaid about the Ministry of Higher Education in that it fails to send a delegation to Zimbabwe to assure the Government of Zimbabwe of how and when their money will be paid. It would be easy for such universities to give transcripts knowing that their money would be paid.

It so happened on 5th January, 2019 that the Council of Ministers approved US$1.4 million to be released to clear off the arrears that have not been paid for three semesters. The Minister of Finance has not released that amount whatsoever. It is against this backdrop that 130 students under the South Sudanese Students’ Union in Zimbabwe, invaded and shut down the Embassy of South Sudan. The Money was duly approved for these very students. One wonders why the Minister of Finance keeps it!

It makes no sense spending four or five years without getting academic documents after completion. The students are therefore calling upon the Government of South Sudan to ask, importune and impel the Minister of Finance over the delay of $1.4 million that was approved by the Council of Ministers.

The writer is a fifth (final) year Law student at Midlands State University and can be reached via johnmabilmanyok@gmail.com

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

Comments
  1. Mabil Manyok Nhial says:

    Thank you so much PaanLuel Wël for publishing this article.

    Like

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