Zimbabwean students say Hong Kong must deport Mugabe's daughter

Other News Materials 15 February 2009 06:01 (UTC +04:00)

A Zimbabwean students' union was Sunday calling for Hong Kong to deport the daughter of President Robert Mugabe, who is studying at the city's top university, dpa reported.

The Zimbabwe National Students Union petitioned Chinese diplomats in Africa after learning that 20-year-old Bona Mugabe is an undergraduate student at the University of Hong Kong.

Students in the impoverished African nation, which is in the grip of a spiralling economic crisis and political turmoil, say Mugabe's daughter should be made to study back home.

Bona Mugabe has been allowed to study in Hong Kong despite sanctions and travel bans against her father and members of his regime by many Western countries.

In a letter sent to the Chinese embassy in Harare and published in Hong Kong's Sunday Morning Post newspaper, students' union spokeswoman Blessing Vavu said Mugabe's daughter should be deported.

The president's daughter should return in order to "suffer with other patriotic students studying in the state universities," Vavu argued.

She wrote: "It is disheartening to note that the first family insolently sent daughter Bona Mugabe under an assumed name to the University of Hong Kong, China to further her studies while students in Zimbabwe suffer.

"The state of our education system is so deplorable that the president has seen it fit to trust the Chinese for the education of his daughter whilst ordinary students are failing to get decent education."

Bona Mugabe's presence in Hong Kong, where she enrolled in university under an alias last autumn, emerged after her 43-year-old mother Grace allegedly assaulted a freelance photographer who took pictures of her shopping in the city in January.

According to London's Sunday Times, the Mugabes secretly bought a 5.7-million-dollar luxury home in Hong Kong's Tai Po district.

The University of Hong Kong declined to comment specifically on the campaign by the students' union but a spokeswoman said Bona Mugabe was free to study there.

"We believe that many of our students will share our belief of right of education for everybody and our view that people should not be responsible for what other members of their family have done," she said.

A Hong Kong government spokeswoman said: "We note the campaign and do not comment on individual cases." Immigration officers decided each case on individual merits, she added.