Mashudu Netsianda and Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporters
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday arrived in Bulawayo where he is scheduled to commission 79 Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) buses and officiate at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust)’s graduation ceremony and launch its innovation hub.
He was welcomed at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport by Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister, Judith Ncube, Nust Vice-Chancellor Professor Engineer Mqhele Dlodlo, Zanu-PF Politburo member Cde Absolom Sikhosana, senior Government officials, service chiefs and Zanu-PF supporters.
The President jetted in shortly after 6PM accompanied by State Security Minister Owen Ncube and his support staff.
President Mnangagwa will today have a busy schedule in Bulawayo as he officiates at four events starting with the commissioning of the Zupco buses at the City Hall car park before proceeding to Nust for the institution’s 25th graduation ceremony, which will be preceded by the launch of the institution’s innovation hub.
The innovation hub (formerly Technopark) is a strategic business unit (SBU) of Nust that systematically strives to position itself at the interface between the research and innovation efforts of the university community on one hand and the private and public sectors in the country on the other hand.
The President will also officially open the Nust gatehouse.
Minister Judith Ncube yesterday said the city was ready to host President Mnangagwa ahead of his packed programme.
“The President will have a busy schedule tomorrow (today) in Bulawayo as he would be commissioning 76 Zupco buses. The event will take place at the City Hall car park in the morning. Whether the buses would be for Bulawayo only or they will be distributed to other areas we don’t know, but certainly he will commission those buses. Everything is in place for that,” she said.
“After that the President will proceed to Nust where there are three programmes. At Nust he will commission the innovation hub, officially open its gatehouse before capping graduates. So, it’s a busy day tomorrow, but we are very pleased that His Excellency will spend the day with us in Bulawayo. We are hopeful all the programmes will go accordingly.”
The commissioning of Zupco buses is part of Government’s commitment to provide cheaper and more reliable transport for the commuting public while the launch of the innovation hub is part of the Second Republic’s vision to promote novelty at institutions of higher learning so that they use technology to address to socio-economic problems affecting the nation.
The Nust Innovation Hub will incubate brilliant ideas from students and staff before they are developed into new business enterprises or supporting existing ones.
Government has already commissioned the University of Zimbabwe and Midlands State University innovation hubs.
President Mnangagwa recently said that universities should drive the transformational national trajectory towards an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
The Nust Innovation Hub will house software developers with the institution recently revealing that they will come up with a local Paynet software to address issues around delays in payment systems via banks.
The hub will also be home to the university’s pacesetters, including the Applied Genetic Testing Centre (AGTC), DNA lab, which is already involved in ground breaking national projects.
Nust director of communication and marketing Mr Felix Moyo said the university is ready to host the President who is also the Chancellor of all State universities.
“All is set and as Nust we have done everything that we were expected to do. We are now ready. We have three programmes; the university’s 25th graduation, opening of the gatehouse as well as the innovation hub,” said Mr Moyo.
He urged graduands and guests to be seated by 9:30AM.—@mashnets/@nqotshili