Nduduzo Tshuma Political Editor—
THE Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Professor Jonathan Moyo, yesterday described as outrageous claims that the leadership of the National University of Science and Technology caused the death of former Vice Chancellor Professor Lindela Ndlovu. Prof Ndlovu who was buried on Sunday at Lady Stanley cemetery in Bulawayo died on Wednesday barely a week after he “learnt from the newspapers” that he had been replaced as Vice Chancellor by Prof Samson Sibanda.
Prof Moyo was responding to a story in yesterday’s Chronicle where the late Prof Ndlovu’s uncle and vice chairperson of the Nust council Alvord Mabena said the former Vice Chancellor died a stressed man.
Mabena, speaking at Prof Ndlovu’s burial, said there had been a serious onslaught to expunge him from Nust in his last days by some of his colleagues at the institution. Mabena said the university had virtually extinguished Prof Ndlovu’s immense contributions to Nust’s development over the 10 years that he was Vice Chancellor.
On Friday, the family chased away the university’s council chairperson, Mike Ndubiwa, from Prof Ndlovu’s funeral wake in Hillside. “My attention has been drawn to some shocking remarks carried on the front page of today’s Chronicle and attributed to the vice chairman of Nust’s Council, Alvord Mabhena, to the effect that ‘Nust killed Prof Lindela Ndlovu.’
“It’s most unfortunate and very disappointing for such false, outrageous, irresponsible and unacceptable claims to be associated in any way, shape or form with the vice chairman of Nust’s Council.
“The record shows that as an institution Nust gave the late Prof Ndlovu an unparalleled professional opportunity to lead and the late Prof Ndlovu utilised that opportunity to his fullest potential in ways that had some exemplary milestones.”
Prof Moyo called on Mabena to desist from using personal issues against officials at Nust to injure the reputation of the institution. “As a matter of fact Nust didn’t and couldn’t kill Prof Lindela Ndlovu.
“It’s reprehensible in the extreme for anyone to use whatever personal issues they might legitimately or otherwise have with any individual at Nust to cast aspersions on Nust’s institutional integrity, professionalism and reputation.
“Nust is not about this or that individual but is a fine national institution established in terms of the law with a national mandate that has nothing to do with any individual. This fact must be understood and respected by everyone genuinely interested in Nust as a national institution of higher education.”
Prof Moyo said as a member of the university’s highest policy making body, Mabena ought to act in a manner “commensurate with his responsibility” at the institution.
“While I recognise and respect the fact that Cde Mabena was uncle to the late Prof Ndlovu who was former Vice Chancellor at Nust, the fact that Cde Mabena is vice chairman of the Nust Council means he’s in a position to know better and to act in a manner that is commensurate with his responsibility at Nust, given that Council is the institution’s highest policy making body,” said Prof Moyo.
“The loss of Prof Lindela Ndlovu is tragic. He was a respected and distinguished academic giant in his field. His contribution to the development of Nust is immeasurable.”
Prof Ndlovu, who had been battling diabetes, collapsed and died at Galen House Medical centre where he had been rushed for a medical check-up last week. He had served Nust since 2001 as the university’s senior chemistry lecturer after joining the tertiary institution from the University of Zimbabwe.