Student leaders from the Zimbabwe Congress of Students Union (Zicosu) yesterday castigated Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo for neglecting them and expending his energy on attacking Government programmes and officials.
In a statement yesterday, Zicosu president Takudzwa Gambiza said students had suffered a great deal of ridicule from Professor Moyo who dismissed those reading commercial, humanities and social science as wasting their time.
The student leader also called on President Mugabe to rein in “all unruly and loose canons” in his Cabinet and Politburo.
Gambiza said Professor Moyo had, during a public lecture at the Midlands State University in March this year, said the students would not contribute anything to Zimbabwe’s economic development after completing their studies.
“His continued Twitter rants and statements are a slap in the face of the students’ community whom he has seemingly neglected,” he said.
Gambiza said tuition fees had risen sharply under Prof Moyo’s watch, citing the recent increase in fees for medical students at the University of Zimbabwe as an example.
The students were later thrown out of their halls of residence after an impasse with college authorities.
“Ironically, the School of Medicine falls under the STEM enterprise that the minister is fronting. We have upheld and embraced as a good programme.
“However, our question remains; why is the Professor’s ministry not using Zimdef money to subsidise fees for students in tertiary institutions and bond them after completing their studies?” he said.
The student body further accused Professor Moyo of encroaching into Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education’s territory.
Gambiza said Professor Moyo had abandoned his constituency in overstepping his mandate.
He said Zicosu had noted with great concern and utmost disgust Professor Moyo’s malevolent attacks on Government initatives such as the Command Agriculture programme.
He said such initiatives including the Presidential Inputs Support Scheme had born fruit at household levels while contributing to the country’s economic growth.
“The superfluous and unjustifiable attacks on the successful programmes that have seen the Food Security and Nutrition Cluster within the Zim-Asset policy document has sent massive shock across the intellectual community, both in our institutions and the academic fraternity,” he said.
Gambiza said Professor Moyo’s attack on the Command Agriculture initiative, described by President Mugabe as “beautiful”, was a sign of total disrespect and malicious disregard of the country’s leadership.
He said Professor Moyo had totally undermined Cabinet processes which gives him a platform to constructively criticise the initiatives.
“Professor Moyo has, however, chosen his Twitter handle to emasculate the programme and, subsequently, cause unprecedented discord and disharmony in Government,” he said.
“The utterances by our minister, if left unrestrained, may lead the country to descend into anarchy.”
Gambiza said Professor Moyo’s attacks on fellow Cabinet ministers and members of the security forces were akin on the MDC attacks on the late Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander, General Vitalis Zvinavashe.
“Zimbabwe is a peaceful nation and we cannot afford to watch senior Government officials making reckless statements that may be misunderstood leading to mayhem.
“It is imperative that we attract foreign direct investment to grow our economy and as such we need to portray a united front.
“Public statements from senior Government officials exude glorified confusion and are doing a great disservice which may result in Zimbabwe being shunned by investors, robbing our generation and the rest of Zimbabwe of opportunities and growth.”
The student leader encouraged Professor Moyo to refrain from such dangerous acts and promote unity, peace and development.
“His unrepentant attacks on senior military personnel as a popularity gimmick may compromise State security, especially when coming from a senior Government official,” Gambiza said.
He said Professor Moyo should use proper channels within the bureaucratic system to constructively criticise his peers.
ZICOSU is a patriotic students’ body drawing membership from all national higher and tertiary institutions in Zimbabwe.
It is also a student advocacy platform with focus on all issues affecting students during and after their studies.