Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday donated a tractor with ploughs, planters and harrows as well as a bus to the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) run Solusi University in Figtree during the institution’s 26th Graduation ceremony.
The guest of honour and businessman Mr Kudakwashe Tagwirei who is also the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sakunda Holdings and an Elder in SDA announced this during his address.
The graduation was held at the Beit Hall at Solusi University with 371 students who graduated with degrees or diplomas capped amid ululations and celebratory cheers from parents and loved ones.
Solusi University Chancellor Dr Micah Choga presided over the proceedings.
The event was also attended by Deputy Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Tino Machakaire, Managing Director at Fossil Contracting Mr Obey Chimuka, Managing Director of Trek Petroleum Dr Innocent Mugwisi and gospel musician Mr Everton Mlalazi.
Mr Tagwirei said as part of the newly set up Solusi University Development Trust, President Mnangagwa donated a 127-horsepower tractor complete with a ridger, a disc harrow, a planter and a trailer.
He said the President also donated a 40-seater bus.
Mr Tagwirei said to complement the President’s donation, he also donated a 60-seater bus, 10-tonne and four-tonne trucks and three tractors to the university.
He said they will help Solusi rebuild its orchard, install 13 greenhouses and put 250 hectares under irrigation.
Also at the event was President Mnangagwa’s son Emmerson Junior who, according to Mr Tagwirei gave Solusi University Chancellor a Toyota Prado to be used as a personal car as he has served the institution for 17 years.
Deputy Minister Machakaire gave the university a 75-horse power tractor with all the implements that go with it.
Mr Chimuka donated a car for the Vice Chancellor’s wife and another for one of the University’s Deans.
Dr Mugwisi donated a car to the trust and fuel amounting to 5 000 litres per month for the next 18 months.
Mr Tagwirei said since Solusi University has 3 000 hectares of land, President Mnangagwa saw it fit to donate farm inputs.
“The President says I want to help Solusi, because it has 3 000 hectares of land hence the donation of the tractor and other implements. The President said he is concerned about the children, the University students and has donated a 40-seater bus.
The President does not speak to the gallery like others, the bus is here, the tractor is here,” said Mr Tagwirei.
He said President Mnangagwa requested that a seed house be set up at the university.
“On that plantation is going to be a seed-house, that was the request by his Excellency of 2 000 square metres, which is going to have seedlings to build orchards for the community of Figtree to service this area so that Solusi can be a centre of influence,” said Mr Tagwirei.
He said the President leads by example and went on to spell out what crops the Head of State has planted and harvested.
“The President is a serious farmer, on average he produces about 12 tonnes per hectare of maize, when everything is good, he produces about eight tonnes of wheat, and five tonnes of soya (beans). He is a serious farmer, when he does potatoes, on average over 60 tonnes per hectare. I have been privileged to visit his farm, he also helps the community around him as he does not want to leave them behind,” said Mr Tagwirei.
He said now was the time for Zimbabweans to take ownership of the university, rather than it being dependent on donations.
“There was a man named Wessel the founder of De-Beers and his relative was an Adventist and the one who sent some money to America to allow the missionaries to come, and those came together with Anderson to start what we call Solusi in 1894.
“They built this school and then we took over, we still felt that we should continue to be blessed by the Wessels and now we are still sitting in a hall by Beit Foundation. So, I felt challenged and with my friends came up with a proposal that we shared with the University council.
“Wessel has come and gone and this is our time. No longer shall we wait for donations that come from out of this country. Because those donations always come with conditions. We want to worship Him in spirit and in truth without anyone taking a hold on us,” said Mr Tagwirei.
He said all this support is for the university to be self-sufficient and help the surrounding community.
“We want the university to be self-sufficient, and as such we shall assist the university with setting up solar energy and fixing the sewer and water reticulation systems and all this will take 18 months to be completed. We want Solusi to be self-sustainable and the trust will raise funds to go into commercial activities. And we are going to help you to make use of your land through the institutions that you know.
“We have specialists that have come up with a programme, his Excellency said he will come and launch it himself. The trust will raise the money and I’m going to use my properties as security.”
Turning to the staff, Mr Tagwirei said salaries for workers at Solusi will be increased by 50 percent.
He said the university will now offer allowances to lecturers and slashed prices for food at the canteen from US$2 to 50 cents, much to the delight of students.