By Lerato Ndlovu
South Sudanese students who recently completed their studies with the country’s institutions of higher learning have found themselves stranded at their embassy in the capital.
Delay in the processing of travelling documents and air tickets have found them staying at the embassy’s premises where food and accommodation seem to be in short supply.
Some of the students who spoke to this reporter on condition of anonymity stated that they have been forced to sleep in the corridor and cars that are parked at the premises for the past week and some days now as they wait for the processing of their air tickets.
The students also alleged that their Ambassador was reluctant in acting on processing their tickets back to S. Sudan.
“Currently we more than ten students from NUST, MSU and GZU who recently graduated, we were denied additional accommodation by our universities due to unpaid arrears by the government of S. Sudan.
“We were taken to our home embassy in Harare a week and some days now, where our ambassador is not in good talking terms with us over our return tickets to Juba, hence resulting in us sleeping on the verandahs and in parked cars during this rainy season,” they narrated.
They said that even those still in school were facing the same predicament because the Ambassador is not communicating with them on what is taking place at home.
“The ambassador’s attitude towards us and those still in school are affecting too bad, we do not know what wars he is fighting with the Ministers back home and he is shoving it on us yet we are all innocent,” they lamented.
The students have since written distress letter to S. Sudan’s Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology stating their dire living conditions and of those continuing their studies whilst appealing for assistance.
“We are therefore appealing for your urgent attention to this matter by providing air tickets and feeding money if we are to wait while the tickets are being processed. Continuing students are also not being spared either by the hardships and their situation also calls for urgent intervention in the shortest possible time,” reads part of the letter.
“We know the government will be quick to say “there is no money at hand and nevertheless we are working to address your situation, however, it will cost the government millions of US dollars to repatriate a body to South Sudan in the event that one or more of us die in Zimbabwe,” it continues.
Over South-Sudanese students were brought to Zimbabwe in 2015 and the majorities were repatriated without their certificates due to unfinished fees arrears.