ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe Empowerment Movement (ZEM) party leader Mr Garikai Sithole has been accused of swindling students here after asking them to pay $30 application fees for a non-existent scholarship.
Mr Sithole, who claims to run a scholarship fund named after his father, the late Zanu Ndonga leader Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole, has allegedly been registering the desperate students for the fake scholarship.
He would convince the students that the scholarship fund, administered by the Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole Trust, was set up to pay for the education of vulnerable students from primary school right up to university. But the Trust under which the scholarship fund was set up has not yet been registered.
GZU director of Information and Publicity Mr Anderson Chipatiso warned students in a statement yesterday against falling prey to the bogus scholarship fund.
Mr Chipatiso said students wishing to access educational assistance under any scholarship fund were supposed to do so through the university administration.
“It has come to Great Zimbabwe University’s attention that there are individuals going around the City of Masvingo promising to facilitate scholarships to underprivileged and vulnerable students upon payment of an application fee,” he said.
“The individuals purport to be representing trusts/organisations. In that regard, the university wishes to advise as follows: That the university is in no way involved or connected with the so-called trusts/organisations.”
“Students are encouraged to verify with the university the registration status of such organisations or trusts before they commit to anything.’’
Mr Chipatiso said all bona fide scholarships were administered by the university and the trusts or organisations themselves, warning that normally scholarship funds that ask students to pay application fees were bogus. He also asked students who were asked to pay application fees to approach the police.
Mr Sithole accused GZU authorities of frustrating efforts by his political party to help under privileged students.
“We approached GZU asking for a list of students with fees arrears and they never came back to,” he said. “The Ndabaningi Sithole Trust was formed as a way of honouring the good work that my late father did during his lifetime.’’ Mr Sithole defended payment of application fees to access the scholarship fund, saying the money was paid to the bank and not to him personally. He conceded that the Ndabaningi Sithole Trust was yet to be registered and said he would soon do so.
ZEM was formed early last year, with Mr Sithole declaring himself leader, but up to now the outfit has not yet managed to hold an inaugural congress to elect its leadership whose composition remains a mystery.