A senior Zimbabwe Publishing House (ZPH) official has accused Education, Art, Sports and Culture minister David Coltart of abuse of office after he allegedly unilaterally awarded a printing tender to one company, Longman (Zimbabwe) Publishers.
But contacted for comment Monday night, Coltart said: “The tender was awarded by Dr Peter Salama, the Unicef representative in Zimbabwe, and what ZPH is saying is nonsense because it was made whilst I was outside the country” said Coltart.
Ginio Tafireyi, the chief executive officer for ZPH, told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education the move by the minister had created a monopoly in the publishing industry for the next five years.
“Most of the decisions are made by the minister and we feel the minister himself as a politician made a political decision on the Education Fund which was supposed to be for the whole nation,” said Tafireyi.
“The education transition fund has been a secret and we think a lot of Zimbabweans don’t know what is happening,” he said.
In 2009 government floated the tender for printing of primary and secondary school textbooks under the Education Fund.
Three leading printing companies, Longman (Zimbabwe), ZPH and College Press, submitted bids for the tender but Coltart allegedly manipulated the system and gave the tender to Longman (Zimbabwe) last December.
According to Tafireyi, the tender was open to international and local publishers. Tafireyi said the tender results were not communicated to all the applicants.
He said Longman (Zimbabwe) were clandestinely made to sign the contract and efforts by losing tenderers to get the tender results were in vain.
“Tendering is good for clarity competitiveness but there are situations where it is not good for the maintenance of quality and we think it can only be used when quality issues have been dealt with and products being tendered for have been measured.”
Tafireyi also told the ministry to review the current syllabus arguing some syllabi had become obsolete.