Zim embassy officials accused of negligence

HARARE - A Zimbabwean family is in anguish after a student died in Algeria in what has been described as negligence on the part of embassy authorities.

Kudzai Tosh Rusike’s body arrived yesterday after massive bungling which included the body being stuck in Dubai.

The 23-year-old Chitungwiza boy who was studying French at Algeria’s Tlemcen University in Bejaia was full of life, with his Facebook page showing he had a thing for the guitar and swag.

He arrived in a body bag on Friday after delays caused by bungling which saw the body being stuck in Dubai. His family was in anguish yesterday, still coming to terms with the unexplained death and poor handling of the affair by Zimbabwean authorities.

Kudzai died in unclear circumstances on Saturday, January 26 at a Seventh Day Adventist Church in the country’s capital Algiers.

Rusike fell ill at the varsity for about two-and-a-half weeks and the message was communicated to officials at the Zimbabwean Embassy there who said they  needed to verify the illness before airlifting him home, those close to him said.

He was reportedly transported by a ministry of Higher Education official only identified as Tsvere by taxi to Algiers, a distance of 180km to connect a plane to Zimbabwe despite contestations from university medical staff and fellow students.

Rusike was made to sleep at the church instead of being taken to hospital given his condition, they said.
Tsvere, it is alleged, argued that he did not have enough funds to have the student airlifted to the capital.

The Daily News on Sunday understands it costs just 4 000 dinars which is equivalent to $40 from Bejaia to Algiers.

The students argue that there was no need to fly Rusike back home as he could have been helped there in Algeria or France at a cheaper cost.

They accused the authorities of not giving primacy to the health of students.

Zimbabwean embassy officials in Algiers, the students allege, did not react promptly after receiving news of his illness, accusing the officials of failing to act in a parental manner.

Higher Education ministry permanent secretaryWashington Mbizvo was not available. Neither was his Foreign Affairs counterpart Joey Bimha as both were not picking up their phones.

Rusike’s guardians say they are in the dark regarding the cause of death.

The Daily News on Sunday crew visited Rusike’s home in Chitungwiza where mourners are gathered and spoke to his uncle Walter Jonhera.

Jonhera said they were informed of their son’s death by ministry of Higher Education officials but there was no explanation.

“We really have no picture of what could have happened,” Jonhera said.

Rusike’s biological parents died “a long time ago” and, together with his two sisters, were raised by their uncle.

Confusion surrounded the arrival of Rusike’s body from Algeria.

The body was supposed to be in Zimbabwe on Tuesday but relatives were told different stories since then, the Daily News on Sunday learnt.

On Thursday, when the body was supposed to arrive aboard an Emirates airline, it was said to have mysteriously remained in Dubai while in transit.

An official from the ministry of Foreign Affairs reported to the family at their home in Chitungwiza that the body was “accidentally” stuck in Dubai but the official who was accompanying it managed to find his way in Harare without the body.

The body finally arrived in Harare on Friday.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the relative said: “It has all be strangely handled. The delays and the odd handling of Kudzai’s death have caused emotional and financial pain to the family.”

He said Rusike will be buried in Rusike Village, Shamva. - Mugove Tafirenyika and Margaret Chinowaita

Comments (1)

my loving brother........greatly missed

tee - 22 September 2015

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