Munyaradzi Musiiwa Midlands Correspondent
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday caped 4 719 graduands at Midlands State University in Gweru.
The graduands were drawn from 11 faculties.Of the graduands, 46 percent were female, 632 attained masters degrees while four obtained Doctor of Philosophy Degrees.
Midlands State University Vice Chancellor Professor Ngwabi Bhebe said the institution was finalising a Memorandum of Understanding with Swedish based college International Centre for Local Democracy to capacitate female councillors.
Prof Bhebe said MSU also entered into a partnership with Common Wealth Government Forum focusing on capacity development in local authorities.
“We strongly subscribe that a robust local government system is the bedrock of any meaningful development, as it is the level of government that is closest to the people. As evidenced by erratic water supplies, pot-holed roads, mountains of garbage, dilapidated infrastructure, including non-functional street lights and regular sewer bursts in our cities, our local government wheels seem to have come off the rails,” he said.
“Against this background, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Socio-Economic Transformation is a most welcome take off point for us as a university, whereby our department of Local Governance is finalising a MoU with the International Centre for Local Democracy in Sweden to capacitate women councillors.”
Prof Bhebe said there was poor governance in local authorities particularly urban councils hence the need for capacity building.
“We have another partnership which is being finalised with the United Nations Development Programme focusing on capacity building research and infrastructure intervention in local authorities.
“All these efforts are aimed at ensuring that the local government system, which is currently under stress, is assisted in every way possible to become more responsive to community needs and concerns,” he said.
Prof Bhebe said the institution was finalising preparations for the establishment of the Faculty of Medicine and that of Mining Sciences. He said the university completed renovating old buildings at the defunct Shabanie Mine which would be turned into a campus.
“The faculty of medicine, which will initially be operated as an affiliate of the University of Zimbabwe Medical School will be opened in 2015. The university has purchased the latest medical equipment for our preclinical laboratories directly from China, which is not only meant for teaching and research purposes but also designed to carrying out medical tests on patients in the region. We have leased part of Shabanie Mashava Mining Holdings offices which we have rehabilitated and adapted to come up with a fine infrastructure to accommodate our programmes,” he said.