Blessings Mashaya 14 August 2017
HARARE – Opposition parties have slammed government’s plans to construct a
$1 billion state-of-the-art university named after President Robert
The parties argued that the learning facility – to be owned by the Robert
Mugabe Foundation (RMF) – is a waste and misuse of taxpayer’s money at the
First Family’s benefit.
“The MDC is deeply appalled by the Zanu PF regime’s decision to fund the
Robert Mugabe University. Whilst the MDC keenly advocates for the
development and establishment of educational institutions, we are
convinced that government funds should always be used in a transparent and
responsible manner that benefits the majority of the people instead of
funding personal business ventures of private individuals,” the Morgan
Tsvangirai-led party’s spokesperson, Obert Gutu, said.
“We have more than a dozen State universities in Zimbabwe, all of which
are severely under-funded,” he said, questioning “what is the logic of
establishing a new State-funded Robert Mugabe University instead of
capacitating the existing State universities?”
Gutu said “someone, somewhere, is just trying to curry favour with Mugabe
by massaging his personal ego. This is Zanu PF patronage politics gone
Last week, Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo revealed
that influential First Lady Grace Mugabe had pressured government to build
“We have been pushed positively; the real inspiration and mover pulling
together the various pieces that need to be in place has been the…Grace
Mugabe because this is the initiative of the RMF. The university will be
established under the auspices of the foundation, which is the responsible
authority of the university,” Moyo told the media.
Mugabe and Grace are the founding trustees of the RMF. However, People’s
Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume accused Moyo of trying to seek
favours from the first family.
“It is rank madness. This is a way by…Moyo to counter Command
Agriculture by introducing command learning and institutions. It is meant
to be a way of getting money from the fiscus and he is trying to curry
favour with the first family.
He said the system has created “a society where all sorts of madness are
justified as long as it is done in the name of the Mugabes”.
The Welshman Ncube-led MDC spokesperson, Kurauone Chihwayi, alleged that
the project was a way of trying to loot State resources.
“This is strategic looting by the Mugabe family. They are exerting so much
pressure on the national purse by diverting resources towards the
construction of Robert Mugabe’s backyard university. Children are walking
10km to primary school in farming areas, kidney and cancer patients are
battling for survival as Generation 40 (G40) ministers scramble to lick
the Zimbabwean president.”
Moyo said the construction phase is going to start in the next six months
when groups set up to oversee its incubation under the supervision of the
University of Zimbabwe submit their working plans.
Government will initially release $1 billion for the construction project.
According to the 2017 budget estimates of expenditure in the Blue Book,
there is no budgetary provision for the university.
Moyo said the Robert Mugabe University will be a Science, Technology,
Engineering and Mathematics (Stem) institution designed to facilitate the
discovery of scientific, technological and engineering solutions to
improve the quality of life in Zimbabwe.
The university will concentrate on Stem areas exclusively at graduate
Meanwhile, there are suggestions to rename the Harare International
Airport after Robert Mugabe.