ZIMBABWE: Mugabe's daughter to stay at Hong Kong University

Hong Kong University has rejected growing calls to send home Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's daughter, Bona Mugabe, who is studying there under an assumed name. The presence of the dictator's daughter in Hong Kong became known after her mother, Grace Mugabe, assaulted a photographer while shopping in the country.

Around the world, universities have been under pressure to revoke honorary degrees awarded to Robert Mugabe and government's to expel individuals linked to his autocratic government.

His daughter's presence in Hong Kong was first revealed by the South China Morning Post, despite efforts to mask her presence. Bona Mugabe has never made political statements in Zimbabwe, but has attended political rallies addressed by her father.

"We believe that education should be above politics and young people should not be denied the right to education because of their family background or what their parents have done," a Hong Kong University spokesperson was quoted as saying in the local press. Legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing called for a debate over the admission of students such as Bona Mugabe.

The Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) has since launched a campaign to pressure China to deport young Bona Mugabe. In a petition delivered to the Chinese ambassador in Harare on 27 January, Zinasu said she should return and attend university with other students in Zimbabwe who are suffering because of her father's policies.

She should, said Zinasu in the petition, "come and suffer with other patriotic students studying in state universities. The state of the education system is so deplorable that the President has seen it fit to trust the Chinese with the education of his daughter whilst ordinary students are failing to get a decent education."

The petition outlined a litany of problems that have hit the education system hard and prompted Mugabe's government to take action - such as charging university fees in United States dollars, the brain drain, suppression of academic freedom and the failure of some students to write examinations because of industrial action.

"Zinasu demands the return of Bona Mugabe as a way of mounting pressure on President Mugabe to resuscitate the once prestigious education system," the petition concluded.

The latest campaign follows one last year that resulted in the Botswana government deporting Mugabe propagandist and University of Botswana media studies lecturer, Ceaser Zvayi. Prior to working in Botswana, Zvayi was political editor of the state-run The Herald newspaper, and he was slapped with targeted sanctions by the European Union for hate speech that fanned violence against Mugabe's political opponents during which hundreds of people died.

Universities in the United States and the United Kingdom have revoked degrees awarded to Mugabe. Last year, Australia deported eight students with links to members of Mugabe's government, including the children of Commissioner General of Police Augustine Chihuri and Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono, saying it wanted to prevent people involved in human rights abuses giving their children education denied to ordinary Zimbabweans. In recent years, government officials have opted to send their children to universities in Asia, mainly Malaysia.

Opposition officials have jumped on the bandwagon of sending their children to foreign institutions. Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change and now Prime Minister-designate in an envisaged power-sharing government with Mugabe, sent his daughter to university in Australia to escape plummeting standards at local institutions.

Local analysts have said the campaign to bring back Mugabe's daughter is unlikely to succeed, citing China's refusal to censure him as exemplified by its blocking of debate on Zimbabwe by the United nations Security Council.


I agree with the Hong Kong spokeperson, its not fair for Bona Mugabe to come back because the education system has collapsed. We are all benefitiaries of RG's good policies on education we all went to school for almost nothing. We thank him that, now the world had changed prices have gone up and governement, especially our with the sanctions, we wont be able to susstain the bill of education so people have to pay.

[For Bona stay in school honey, dont listern to the ZINASU guys, they want the same chance.]

Luke Kandemiri


Bona Mugabe is an independent individual who has commited no crime. Its not a crime for Mugabe to be her father neither is it a crime for Mugabe to be president of Zimbabwe. The media frenzy and the openly biased and hostile views on Zimbabwean politicians associated with Mugabe are a clear indication that the World Press is biased. Whatever mistakes or errors have been made the people of Zimbabwe have resolved them and who are you to be carrying the hatchet when every Zimbabwean politician of note has burried and burnt theirs. Can you give us respect, peace of quiet and respect that we are capable of playing our part as a capable nation of Africa. We freed ourselves then for freeing the land we paid. Julius Nyerere was the most despised leader (Ujamaa) yet today everyone quotes Tanzania leadership style, nobody stays for more than five years but has this eliminated Tanzanian poverty. We have learnt from our mistakes that land is not everything and that our politicians could have been more humane. But Leave the child alone !!!!!!!!

phibian mashingaidze

The comments posted above are by two sadly ill-informed individuals who obviously have no idea of the extreme oppression and disadvantages the people of Zimbabwe have faced. Hopefully Bona Mugabe will receive an education that will help her realise the extent of hardship and hatred her father has caused. Possibly by studying human rights she may be able to help Zimbabweans by making sure sure only leaders that have the interests of the people and country as a whole - where everyone has equal opportunity - are privileged to rule.

Edgar Chigwedere

Your line of argument demonstrates a high level of intolerance. Bona Mugabe and Robert Mugabe are two different people and irrespective of attitudes towards Mugabe, his daughter should not suffer collateral damage or blame. The article was not on Mugabe but on someone who happens to be President Mugabe's daughter. The rights of children are not dictated by who their parents are. Zimbabwe needs diverse views but not hatred. A year after the political settlement came into Zimbabwe, many wish it might have come into being much earlier, because the economy is growing at 10% per annum. The habit of attacking those who hold opposing views is found only in ignorant and unpatriotic individuals.

Phibian Mashingaidze