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South Sudanese students in Zimbabwe storm embassy over unpaid arrears

Author : Hellen Achayo | Published: Friday, March 31, 2017

South Sudanese scholars occupy embassy in Cairo, protesting against unpaid stipends in 2013.

South Sudanese students on government scholarship in Zimbabwe say they have occupied the embassy in Harrare, demanding for their unpaid tuition fees for two years.

Their chairperson, Moses Kat, says the 148 students have been on scholarship since 2015 in different universities, pursuing undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

He says they have denied lectures, accommodation and food by their respective institutions.

Mr. Kat says they have been waiting to meet the ambassador to get a response from him.

“What has happened is that we are still here and the ambassador is also here but then we have not been addressed by anybody. We are just in the embassy, we are seated and we don’t know what is actually happening,” Mr Kat told Eye Radio.

“We want him to make effort to talk to the government. And we also want him to talk to the Zimbabwean government such that they should register the students and they should also provide us with food and accommodation,” he said.

When contacted, the Minister of Higher Education in Juba, Yien Oral Lam, says the government has been discussing the issue.

He says the ministry has not been able to pay the tuition fees due to the economic crisis in the country.
However, Mr. Oral told Eye Radio that the ministry is awaiting measures to be taken by the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank.

But he said he had no information whether the students had “occupied the embassy.”
“We would have to be notified by the foreign affairs. But what I know is very well that the fees has not been paid for the last two years because of the current crisis that the government is in and that has been discussed at all the leadership levels,” the minister said.

“So we are waiting for the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance to advise us. All the documentations are before the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank,” he said.

The students say the government is supposed to pay an amount of 1.7 million dollars in arrears for the two years.

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