In Zimbabwe, plans are underway to build a $1bn university dedicated to president Robert Mugabe.Robert Gabriel Mugabe university seeks to recognize the president for his exemplary commitment to education, Jonathan Moyo, minister of tertiary education has said.
“Robert Gabriel Mugabe University will also focus on teaching and research in science, technology and engineering fields,” Professor Moyo said.
But observers are casting doubt on whether the project will actually take off given the poor economic performance of the country that has been on the downward trend since the year 2000.
But prof Moyo exuded confidence that while the project is expensive it was necessary to boost the country literacy.”
“It is not cheap but one initiative that we feel requires support in recognition of President Mugabe’s academic and educational legacy.”
Opposition leaders say the money would be better spent on Zimbabwe’s existing universities, where students face crumbling infrastructure and a lack of accommodation.
“This is populism that defies logic,” said Obert Gutu, a spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change-Zimbabwe top opposition party. “It is meant to stroke Mugabe’s ego because we know this government is broke.”
Zimbabwe’s cabinet has agreed to spend $800m building the new university in Mazowe, 35km outside the capital Harare.
Another $200m has been set aside for an endowment fund for research and innovation at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe University, which will focus on science and technology, Mr Moyo said.
President Robert Mugabe has several earned and honorary degrees while Zimbabwe recently had the highest literacy rate in Africa, at 90% of the population.