Finish library construction before I die — Msipa

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Former Midlands Resident Minister and Governor Cephas Msipa has begged captains of industry to get the university library completed before he dies.

The elderly veteran politician was addressing guests at the official groundbreaking ceremony of the Midlands State University (MSU)’s $12 million state-of-the-art library in Gweru on Monday.

Msipa, a well-respected Zanu PF politician, said he was in the twilight of his life and was appealing to captains of industry to donate generously towards building the library so that it is completed before he passed on.

“I don’t have much time left in my life and when I hear you saying the journey of building the library is going to be long, I get worried. I want you to make it short so that it is completed before I die,” Msipa said.

MSU, which has embarked on a public-private partnership project to build the library, held a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday.

About $1,8 million has already been raised towards the construction of the library. The university has a total enrolment of 10 600 students and a total of 900 teaching staff.

Fundraising patron Emmerson Mnangagwa acknowledged that while most companies were faced with serious financial challenges he hoped they would ensure the project was completed.

“While we acknowledge that your plates are already overflowing with other pressing needs and operational challenges, we continue to persistently knock at your doors hoping that you will be able to donate towards this noble cause,” said Mnangagwa.

Guest of honour Tertiary and Higher Education permanent secretary Washingtom Mbizvo, who was standing in for his boss Stanislaus Mudenge, led the groundbreaking ceremony.

According to Mbizvo, Mudenge who has been struggling with his health recently, was currently Foreign Affairs acting minister and had failed to attend the groundbreaking ceremony because he had been given an urgent assignment by President Robert Mugabe.

Mbizvo appealed to the corporate sector to help fund the university initiative because the government’s ability to fund the project had been significantly hindered by the 2008 economic meltdown.

“The university was built on the assumption that government would fund its expansion, but the economic meltdown of 2008-2009 seriously compromised the ability of government to fund these projects. This is why we appeal to you for help,” said Mbizvo.