MDC-T officials yesterday accused President Robert Mugabe of planning to hijack an e-learning project initiated by Information Communication Technology (ICT) minister Nelson Chamisa for political mileage ahead of the forthcoming general elections.
MDC-T sources said Mugabe had taken over the project and was set to officially launch a schools’ computer laboratory project at Chogugudza Primary School in Goromonzi tomorrow, which function Chamisa had been billed to officiate.
But Presidential spokesperson George Charamba denied allegations of hijacking Chamisa’s programme, saying Mugabe was the pioneer of the computerisation programme.
“The President was invited and he does not have to hijack a programme,” said Charamba.
“The Ministry of ICT is just building on the foundation which the President started a long time ago.
“Do you think he can hijack this project when he has given the whole country computers as the pioneer and head of government?
“If the President is invited to a launch, the host has to send a draft speech and a draft programme which have to be looked at and worked on by the permanent secretary and the chief of protocol respectively and be turned into a Presidential speech and a Presidential programme, that is the standard procedure.”
Chamisa confirmed the launch of the schools project, but could not be drawn to confirm allegations that the Zanu PF leader had hijacked the project from him.
“We will be launching the e-learning aimed at equipping all the schools in the country with ICT. Every school has to have access to ICTs, projectors, printers and also connectivity,” said Chamisa.
“The launch is at Chogugudza Primary School. This will be the first of the e-learning computerisation of the schools. It will see each school having at least 80 computers by 2015,” he said.
“Although we have challenges on having our teachers equipped, we are trying to make it a point that they are equipped so as to make it easier for them to teach the students and avoid a situation where we would have the teacher becoming the student.”
Chamisa said the programme, which initially targeted government, would also be rolled out at clinics, councils and in the police force.
In the run-up to the March 2008 harmonised elections, Mugabe doled out thousands of computers, 10 per school, mostly sourced from Zanu PF’s all-weather friend China to urban and rural schools countrywide.
Political analysts, however, dismissed the President’s gesture as a vote-buying gimmick after it emerged some of the schools that received the donated computers did not have electricity or solar power to run the computers.
Chamisa, who is the MP for Kuwadzana East, said schools with no electricity would have solar panels installed to make it possible for them to use the computers.
“We do not want a situation where the computers will just be dumped at schools and not be used,” he said. Comment on this story: