Felex Share Harare Bureau—
President Robert Mugabe yesterday endorsed the Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University (ZEGU) saying only indigenous initiatives will fully unshackle people from the imbalances created by the country’s former colonialists. Officially opening the institution here, President Mugabe said access to education for all was one of the reasons why Zimbabweans fought against the white regime.
The site has been under dispute with businessman Charles Chakumba taking the university to court arguing he was allocated gold claims on the same land and that the institution had been built on his gold claims. He has since withdrawn the court application.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 Bindura municipality.
ZEGU is the brainchild of the founder and president of the Zimbabwe Assemblies of God Africa Forward in Faith ( ZAOGA F.I.F) Ezekiel Guti. The university which started operations in 2012, has 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.
“This money you are not going to pay. You have already paid through your prayers, we have also paid through our blood,” he said.
“Build the university and you are not going to pay a cent because that’s what we fought for which saw some of our comrades sacrificing their lives.”
President Mugabe said indigenous initiatives would bring total economic emancipation of 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 wiser 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’m sure the young university has great potential to fulfil our quest for university quality education through its mandate anchored in our socio-economic entreprenuership,” he said.
President Mugabe added that excellence in education would be attained if staff members are 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 acess to education for all.
“You’ve bemoaned the death of good morals and we will address that gap,” he said in a speech read by his wife Eunor.
“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 in 1980 to 16.
He described the establishment of ZEGU, the sixth private university in the country, as a “milestone in the illustrous 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.