MPs on Tuesday lashed out at the manner in which the beneficiaries to the Presidential Scholarship were chosen and questioned the credentials of Manicaland governor Christopher Mushohwe, the overseer of the programme.
MPs from both MDC parties said the Presidential Scholarship was being run in a non-transparent manner and did not benefit the intended beneficiaries, the less privileged in society.
The MPs were contributing to debate on the Second Report of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology.
Kadoma Central MP Editor Matamisa said children of the “big fish” in Zanu PF were the ones who benefited and said the scholarship should not be funded from the fiscus because it benefited outside universities instead of promoting local ones, which were desperate for finance.
“We have an overseer of the fund who is the Governor of Manicaland and so are we not politicising the fund?” asked Matamisa. “The fund is supposed to benefit the needy, but are we going to vet using politics?”
“Some people who have gone to universities in South Africa are sons and daughters of loyal Zanu PF bigwigs,” she said.
Highfield West MP Simon Hove questioned Mushohwe’s credentials and said his curriculum vitae was not good enough to earn him the position of overseer of the Presidential Scholarship.
“When I look at his history, I find his CV questionable. This man had to get the intervention of the Vice Chancellor (of the University of Zimbabwe) to get a higher qualification. It is high time for this House to put a stop where there is rot,” said Hove.
He said instead of the government disbursing $54 million to South African universities for the Presidential Scholarship, it would have been better if that amount was put into Zimbabwean universities to improve their standards as the quality of education at South African universities was questionable.
Magwegwe MP Felix Sibanda said the way beneficiaries of the Presidential Scholarship were chosen lacked transparency to the extent that in 2009 and 2010 there was no beneficiary from Matabeleland.
“We also want to know from (Minister of Higher Education Stan) Mudenge if Zimbabwean students in South Africa are not allowed to enjoy their political and social freedom because some students at Fort Hare University were expelled because they had gone to an MDC-T rally,” he said.
Nketa MP Seiso Moyo said there was no legal basis for government to fund the Presidential Scholarship because it did not fall under the Ministry of Higher Education but was a private fund by the President.
Meanwhile, the Finance Bill which had been returned to the House of Assembly by Senators who had recommended amendments on Tuesday passed through the third reading stage with amendments.
The Bill has been referred back to Senate with those adopted amendments and the Senate has been recalled to conclude business on the Finance Bill on Thursday.