PRESIDENT Mugabe has lifted the moratorium on the recruitment of academic staff for all programmes that have been approved by the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (ZIMCHE). Speaking during the Eighth graduation ceremony of Lupane State University (LSU) in Lupane, Matabeleland North yesterday, President Mugabe said $3,9 million had been released towards the development of the institution.
“My Government, in consultation with the Vice Chancellor (Professor Pardon Kuipa) and Reserve Bank Governor (Dr John Mangudya) will immediately release funding to complete the male hostel, solar heating system for student hostels and two staff flatlets. My Government will, with immediate effect, lift recruitment freeze on academic staff for all programmes that have already been approved by ZIMCHE. In monetary terms, these measures have been estimated to amount to about $3,9 million, which I have directed to be released immediately,” he said.
President Mugabe — who was conferred with an honorary Doctor of Philosophy Degree (PhD) in Agricultural Sciences at the ceremony in honour of his dedication in establishing the university and educating the nation — became the first doctoral graduate of the institution. Conferring the doctorate to the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, LSU Vice Chancellor Professor Kuipa said the institution was grateful of President Mugabe’s passion for promoting agriculture in Zimbabwe.
“The agrarian reform has altered the land ownership pattern in favour of the previously marginalised indigenous Zimbabweans. Surely, there is no better empowerment and ownership of the economy than this, hence our collective consensus as a university that this prestigious academic distinction could be bestowed to none other than yourself, Your Excellency,” said Prof Kuipa.
He said in total, 843 graduates had completed their studies in various faculties. “About 63 percent of our graduates are female and we had 83 postgraduates who also completed their studies. In total, we had 670 undergraduates,” he said.
Notably, Zimpapers staffer Gibson Mhaka, a B-Metro reporter, received the LSU book price, the Vice Chancellor’s prize, a TelOne laptop and graduate learnership position for being the best graduating student in Communication Studies. Mhaka also got the National Furniture Trophy for being the overall best graduating student in the Department of Languages.
Other Zimpapers staffers that graduated include Sunday News deputy editor Mkhululi Sibanda, Sunday News senior reporter Robin Muchetu, sub-editor Nomalanga Sibanda and Umthunywa reporter Cornelias Luphahla.