Felex Share in Bindura
President Mugabe has endorsed the Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University (ZEGU), saying the Church should not pay the $2,3 million it had been charged for the State land on which the university is being built.
Only indigenous initiatives, the President said, will unshackle people from the imbalances created by the colonial education system.
The land, the President said, was fully paid for by the blood of sons and daughters of Zimbabwe who liberated it as well as the Church’s prayers over the years.
Officially opening the institution in Bindura on Friday, President Mugabe said access to education for all was one of the reasons why Zimbabweans fought against the colonial regime.
The site has been under dispute with businessman, Mr Charles Chakumba, taking the university to court for reportedly constructing the institution on his gold mining claims.
Mr Chakumba has since withdrawn the court application.
He had been operating in the area, Barasse Farm, until 2010 when the church was also allocated the same piece of land for the construction of a university by the Bindura Municipality.
“Ipo pano patiri panga pachinzi ndepavo,” President Mugabe said. “Vana ani? Vauyi? Manga musingapapihwe nemunamato chete saka manga muchidawo vakaita sesu kuti tisadharare, tivati chibvai muno, kana iri hondo yova hondo. Zvinorwadza asi takuti takapihwa kuti ndoopedu tigozvirega zvichitorwa. Kwete! Aaah kwete. Kana kuri kufa ngatifei kunosara vamwe (They also claimed this ground we are standing on. Who were they? Settlers? You were not only helped by prayer, you also needed dedicated freedom fighters like us to tell them to pack and go. Even if it meant war it was to be. War was hard but we could not let our heritage go. We were prepared to lay down our lives so that others live)”
ZEGU is the brainchild of the founder and president of the Zimbabwe Assemblies of God Africa Forward in Faith (ZAOGA FIF) Professor Ezekiel Guti.
The university started operations in 2012 with an enrolment of 201 students.
President Mugabe said the $2,3 million the university had been charged for the State land should not be paid as the institution was benefiting Zimbabweans.
In any case, the President said, Government would support the university’s expansion projects.
“Mari iyoyo hamubhadhare. Kwete makabhadhara neminamato, takabhadhara neropa,” he said. “Vakai, hamubvise kana kobiri ndozvatakarwira, ndozvakafira vamwe vedu.”
President Mugabe said indigenous initiatives would bring total economic emancipation to the people.
“Thank you (Prof Guti) for that thought,” he said. “He refused to beg and to be under some white people. God gave us hands and it is these which we should use to bring prosperity to ourselves.”
He urged ZEGU to be wise in its decisions as it chooses what to imbibe from established universities.
“One of our expectations is that, as the youngest university, ZEGU will, from inception, provide quality university education,” said the President. “To achieve this, ZEGU will have to provide relevant curricula that is focused on our country’s development needs. I am sure the young university has great potential to fulfil our quest for university quality education through its mandate anchored in our socio-economic entrepreneurship.”
He added that excellence in education would be attained if staff members were resourced.
“As a new university, we expect it to be a fertile ground and indeed an ideal environment that promotes intellectual exchange, a place which will be renowned for developmental research and experiments that benefit the country at large,” he said.
“The university should seek and seek again that useful and practical knowledge. When we want to know more about Zim-Asset, we should be able to turn to it and when we want, in a specific way, to improve our agricultural produce, we should be able to turn to it.”
Prof Guti said the university was complementing President Mugabe’s drive for access to education for all.
“You have bemoaned the death of good morals and we will address that gap,” Prof Guti said in a speech read by his wife Dr Eunor Guti. “Our vision is to develop a total person that is academically and morally grounded.”
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo, commended President Mugabe for championing the education for all concept saying the number of universities had grown from one to 16 since 1980.
He described the establishment of ZEGU, the sixth private university in Zimbabwe, as a milestone in the illustrious history of education in Zimbabwe.
Prof Moyo said of the more than 95 000 students at the country’s universities, about 21 872 of them were doing science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
ZEGU, which will have its inaugural graduation this year, is offering degree programmes in the faculties of arts, education and commerce.
Plans are underway to introduce the faculties of law, health sciences and agriculture.