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Mugabe pledges to cap school fees


Mugabe pledged to fix fees to cushion children from poor families

By Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe shifted focus to education - a rare success story in this impoverished nation as Zimbabwe celebrated its 24th year into independence from white minority rule.

Mugabe chose Saturday, the eve of Independence Day to deliver his populist message which will go down well with millions of parents suffering the burden of unaffordable fees which have been rising with the decline in the country's economic fortunes.

He spoke to hundreds of school children bussed in from all over the country including his son Robert Jnr. He pledged that his government would take necessary steps to halt the tide of rising school fees.

"When the country attained its independence from colonial rule in 1980, we gave ourselves an objective to afford education for all Zimbabweans, therefore we do not want this objective to be defeated," said Mugabe.

Mugabe also said despite efforts by the government to provide HIV patients with treatment in the form of anti-retroviral drugs, the number of deaths in the country remains high and called for more action.

"Although we are doing everything possible to assist HIV patients with drugs, people who continue to die of the disease. There is need to spread more HIV and AIDS awareness messages," he said.

Turning to familiar turf, Mugabe ranted at perceived American and British machinations to 'interfere' with the country's sovereignty.

"Children should be the defenders of Zimbabwean culture, natural resources ad sovereignty. They should safeguard our independence from detractors who want to reverse our political gains," the President said.

"There are some people trying to interfere with our freedom, the British, the Americans and all those who support them pasi navo. Varikuda kukanganisa our freedom. We are a free people and we shall not brook any interference.

"We can organise ourselves in defence of this country should there be interference from these people," he said to more applause from the schoolchildren," he said.
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