The government is set to splash $1 billion — almost a quarter of the country’s budget — in the setting up of a Robert Gabriel Mugabe University, at a time most State higher learning institutions are chronically underfunded and the economy is on its knees.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo yesterday told the media that the university will be located in Mazowe district, where Mugabe and his family have a vast business empire.
“Cabinet has approved a grant of $800m towards the construction of the university and a grant of $200m towards the establishment of the university’s endowment fund for research and innovation,” he said.
As if to betray the nature of patronage in setting up the university, Moyo revealed that the government was pushed by First Lady Grace Mugabe.
“We have been pushed positively. The real inspiration and mover pulling together the various pieces that need to be put in place has been the First Lady,” he said.
“The Robert Mugabe University will concentrate on critical Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) areas almost exclusively at graduate level to produce super specialists and super experts, who will champion Zimbabwe’s industrialisation and modernisation for sustainable socio-economic transformation and development.”
But his permanent secretary, Francis Gudyanga, speaking at the same event, seemed to contradict him, inferring the university will also concentrate on arts and humanities research, such as “revolutionary leadership”.
“An important feature of the university will be The Robert Mugabe Institute, which will focus on research, historical collections, library and studies on transformative and revolutionary leadership, thinking and attributes that shaped the man, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, to evolve from humble beginnings into an iconic global leader, nationalist, pan Africanist, revolutionary, educationalist, strategist and champion of the rights of the downtrodden the world over,” he said.
Gudyanga said the university would be incubated by the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) through a process co-ordinated UZ vice-chancellor, Levi Nyagura, with Mugabe and Grace as its founding trustees.