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Zimbabwe Avails $6 Million For War Vets Children's Fees

Finance Minister Tendai Biti says Zimbabwe is expected to disburse $6 million for the payment of third term school fees for children of former liberation war fighters of the 1970s as thousands of state-sponsored students are in danger of being barred from classes.

In his state of the economy address, Biti said it is important for the government to meet its financial obligations by paying the school fees.

He said this is part of the war veterans's benefits for participating in the nation's liberations struggle.

Some war veterans said the funds are not yet reflecting in their bank accounts as schools are set to open Tuesday despite promises by the government last week to pay the fees by Monday.

But Andy Mhlanga, former secretary general of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, said funds are disbursed to the ministry responsible for war veterans before being deposited into individual accounts.

The money set aside by the government for paying school fees for war veterans’ children is $5 million more than the Ministry of Education’s eight-month budget from January to August this year.

The government stopped paying such fees at the peak of the country’s economic crisis and resumed the exercise soon after the formation of the unity government in 2009.
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Meanwhile, thousands of students under the government-sponsored cadetship scheme are in danger of being barred from classes as state universities are refusing to register students due to non-payment of outstanding tuition fees.

Reports say some 50,000 students expected soon to attend lessons at national tertiary institutions, have been barred from classes as they owe universities a combined $100 million.

Higher Education Minister Stan Mudenge said the government has so far released $1 million for the cadetship program instead of $42 million.

Under the cadetshp scheme, the government pays fees for students who are then expected to work in Zimbabwe after completing college for an equal number of years they received state funding.

Students Solidarity Trust president Masimba Nyamanhindi told VOA all government agenices involved in the cadetship scheme need to work together in order to ensure the smooth operation of the cadetship scheme.
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In Mutare, our correspondent reports that more than 40 motorists who provided private vehicles for conducting Zimbabwe’s national population census say they have not yet been paid their allowances - almost two weeks after the exercise ended.

The disgruntled motorists said the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency promised to pay them $50 a day but has since reneged on the agreement.

They said they have filed a formal complaint and handed over the matter to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Hhuman Rights.

One of the affected motorists, Elton Madzivire, said they used their vehicles for two weeks to transport enumerators in Manicaland Province and were dumped by Zimstat soon after the completion of the national population census.

They were vetted by the state-controlled Central Mechanical and Engineering Department (CMED) before being hired by Zimstat.

There was no immediate comment from Zimstat and the central mechanical department.