CSO’s, Academia Put Zanu PF Under Spotlight

via RadioVop Zimbabwe – CSO’s, Academia Put Zanu PF Under Spotlight By Farai Sibanda  November 28, 2013

Zimbabwe’s civic groups and the academia recently placed the President Robert Mugabe’s administration under the spotlight when they assessed the country’s development trajectory under a Zanu PF government.

Several civic groups and influential scholars drawn from different universities on Wednesday ended a three-day conference in Bulawayo which discussed present realities and future prospects for Zimbabweans under the Zanu PF government.

The conference which was being sponsored by the Open Society Initiative of Southern African (OSISA) and Trust Africa facilitated inclusive and broad participation of government, private sector, civic society and academia in the framing of Zimbabwe’s development trajectory.

Opening the conference former National University of Science and Technology (NUST) Vice- Chancellor Professor Phineas Makhurane said corruption in the private and public sector is one of the diseases that has brought the country’s economy down on its knees.

“Our universities are producing brilliant economists, lawyers and experts in different fields, but the problem is corruption in both private and public sectors.  It is obvious 1+1 =2, but our experts in different sectors are turning it to 1+1=11, this is corruption at its best and has brought our country on its knees. Lack of funding has also affected the smooth operation of the country’s universities,” said Makhurane

Speaking at the same conference senior government Minister Simon Khaya-Moyo encouraged civic society to work closely with Zanu PF administration adding that the reality on ground is that his party is running government of the day. “Whether you like it or not Zanu PF is running this country, and civic society seems to be side-lining us, we are good as passengers on a train whose destiny we are not aware off. I wonder how academics from these three influential State-run universities are busy discussing how to improve the country’s economy and not mentioning anything to do with our party’s economic blue print Zim Asset. It’s hard to believe this,” Moyo said.

ZimAsset (Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socioeconomic Transformation) is Zanu PF government economic blueprint launched after the elections.

But Senator Sekai Holland of the opposition MDC-T told the conference that civic society should think twice before engaging Zanu PF as the government is being run by a military dictator.

“Civic society organisations should be careful when dealing with Zanu PF because this is a military dictatorship in place. The infrastructure of violence is still in place in this country and civic groups should focus on how to deal with this disease before engaging Zanu PF. Don’t just talk about engaging them without dealing with disease of violence as this will strengthen the military regime,” said Holland.

Another MDC-T legislator Jessie Majome  echoed same sentiments with Holland saying civic society groups should know that every government institutions has been militarised and engaging them will strengthen the dictatorship.

“The number of soldiers and police who are now in parliament is so amazing. Even the prisons are now led by a military chief. This alone shows we are under military government,” said Majome.

Sydney Chisi of the Youth Initiative for Democracy Trust (YIDEZ) said “civic society should remain independent from political parties and be a watchdog on how the state handles social and economic issues”.

In the past decade Zanu PF government has been accusing civic society groups and Non–Governmental Organisations (NGOs) of being used by the West in the regime change agenda.

Trevor Maisiri of the International Crisis Group said civic society activists should never sell their soul to the state but should make sure citizens’ rights are respected by the state.

“When we are seeking to engage the state it doesn’t mean we should sell our souls, we should fight for the rights of the citizens. We should seek space of dialogue as we represent the poor. And it also doesn’t mean we will agree with the state as civic society,” said Maisiri.

The conference was also attended by students movements such as ZINASU and several community development organisations like the Tsoro-o-Tso San Community Development Associations.

NUST lecturer Dr Mandla Nyathi who was the facilitator of the three-day conference said since the victory of Zanu PF in the July harmonised elections, civil society organisations have been viewed as agents of the West who wanted to effect regime change.

“As a result, organisations are fighting for their space so that they could represent the masses for the amelioration of every Zimbabwean,” said Nyathi

Nyathi said they took down all inputs from the conference and will put them together and come up with a position paper which they will forward to government, business and civic society and other relevant economic and political stakeholders.



  • comment-avatar
    Nyoni 10 years ago

    Divide and rule . How true is this saying .

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    kutongwa nonjazi 10 years ago

    The truth is wise, intelligent and honest people find it hard to be associated with ruthless, heartless and greedy crooks.

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    The problem of those who claim to represent the voice of the voiceless is their background. At the height of our liberation war, and when the Rhodesians were commiting genocide against black Zimbabweans, these people remained in their safe havens. These people only came into the limelight during and after our land revolution. Then question which boggles then mind is that white Europe is sponsoring them on one side maintaining henoius economic sanctions.

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      Clive Sutherland 10 years ago

      Most civilian murders and deaths in Rhodesia can be attributed to Zanla, this is a fact that is well documented.

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    gorongoza 10 years ago

    And what was happening when ZANU was commiting genocide in matebeleland? When the so called liberators turned vampires (LIBERATORS…MY FOOT!). Everyone was silenced until it was too late and thousands had lost their lives. We have to learnt from post independence violence and the nature of the animal we are dealing with. Its a blood thirsty animal and must be kept on their toes lest another genocide can be allowed to go on! We will keep sniffing around making sure the violent animal is kept in check!

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    At this point I want to tell Honourable Proff Makhurane that a country develops with scientific innovations not with lawyers and Accountants.Germany has developed to be a force in the economy in the universe because of the importance it places in Science and technology.Universities are there for theories in Zim, and its sad.Play your part.Since NUST specialises in technology, tell me any one innovation made by NUST, or by its students since its inception.Its nil.Lets refocus and tailor make our degree programmes to suit our needs.Matebeleland suffers from water shortages and starvation.Tell me, any solution to come up with technology to tap vast amounts of water underground, nothing.At times we can cry ZANU but let us remember that a political party’s emmedeate concern is to survive and outwit emerging parties.Academics in Zim are more failures than ZANU PF.They just cry cry cry and do not come up with scientific solutions to the unique problems.
    Its unfortunate that we still have suit academics who believe in smartness, yet true academics are the innovators and help reduce poverty.In Japan, universities are rated by their contribution to tangible innovations not by writing volumes of they.Its a challenge to all academics.Our forefathers were expert lawyers and economists.They stored food for future use.They had the dare for men to devise rules governing the society and even today , law is derived from our societal norms.I am not shooting down white collar professionals but truelly speaking , we need scientists to steer us to greatness.