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Students Launch 'Final Force' Campaign to Demand Education Rights

The Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) launched a civil disobedience campaign Wednesday designed to force the government to pay fees for 50,000 students under the state cadetship scheme who have not been allowed to register in tertiary institutions due to non-payment of tuition fees.

ZINASU president Pride Mukono told journalists the peaceful protest code-named “Final Force” would run for 60 days and they expect several so-called incompetent ministers to resign during the campaign.

Mukono described most unity government ministers as greedy and irresponsible politicians saying "ministers cannot continue to live a lavish lifestyle while students struggle in extreme poverty and fail to attend lectures".

Mukono said what is surprising is that a "number of ministers in the unity government benefited from state education funds yet today there are privatizing education and shutting out those from poor families".

ZINASU attacked Higher Education Minister Stan Mudenge and Finance Minister Tendai Biti for quarrelling in public about the cadetship program.

Government owes universities and other tertiary institutions more than $50 million in unpaid fees for students under this scheme.

Mudenge has blamed Biti for the government's failure to pay fees for the college students while the finance minister says Zimbabwe is too broke to shell out millions of dollars for higher education.

Government is currently negotiating with banks for the provision of student loans.

Meanwhile, Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere told a Zimbabwe Economics Society meeting Tuesday that Zimbabwe cannot develop while having banks that oppose the country’s black economic empowerment law.

Kasukuwere said banks will be "indigenized and those opposed to such moves should leave the country".

Biti and Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono have said indigenizing foreign-owned banks will not benefit Zimbabweans.
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