18 May 2017

Zimbabwe: Zim to Build Robert Mugabe University... Would You Send Your Child There?

Photo: The Herald
Robert Mugabe.

Will any top Zimbabwe officials actually send their children to the new Robert Mugabe university that's being set up in honour of the 93-year-old president?

That's what Zimbabweans have been asking after the official Chronicle newspaper reported this week that the authorities had begun the process of "setting up" the new institution, which is being billed as a "smart" university likely to specialise in engineering.

The southern African country already has a Robert Mugabe School of Intelligence, which was set up in 2007 near Harare.

Robert Mugabe School of Intelligence

Zimbabweans on Twitter joke grimly that its graduates are the faceless followers who suddenly follow Twitter accounts in large numbers.

But that school is not enough, according to higher education minister Jonathan Moyo.

He tweeted this week that "a future dictator" would not be able to change the name of the yet-to-be-built university.

That was after a suggestion from one local that the Robert Mugabe tag be dropped after the building is finished.

Grace Mugabe, PhD

The Chronicle says the flagship University of Zimbabwe will play a part in the establishment of the new institution. The University of Zimbabwe controversially awarded Grace Mugabe a PhD in 2014 three months after it was reported that she'd signed up for it. Separate reports have suggested that the university could be built in Mazowe, where Grace Mugabe already has a dairy, an orphanage, a private school and land.

Online media watchdog @ZimMediaReview asked its followers this week: "How do you think a degree from a 'Robert Mugabe University' would rate around the world?

"Just a worthless political project that will crumble soon enough," tweeted @mmatigari.

Trump University

@Ricky27_263 said in a tweet that the degree would be worth the same "as one from Trump University" in New York, which offered a programme in real estate but had to cease operations in 2010.

"It would rate as well as Air Zimbabwe in Europe," said @NMusandu in a reference to the national carrier which has just been put on the European Commission's list of banned airlines because of safety concerns.

Tweeted @garynev09: "No shefu [top official] or cabinet member will take their kids there I bet my last $$$."

New 'Robert Mugabe Foundation'

Mugabe's daughter Bona went to university in Hong Kong, while his son Robert Junior has been to university in Dubai. His spokesman George Charamba said earlier this month that he has a child studying in China.The Chronicle says the university will be owned by the 'Robert Mugabe Foundation', which is also still to be set up.

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