Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo yesterday said the $450 000 that he allegedly siphoned from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) was a drop in the ocean as it constituted 1,8 percent of the $24 million that he distributed for development of industrialisation and modernisation at various tertiary institutions.
Prof Moyo said this while officiating at a graduation ceremony at Madziva Teachers’ College where 275 teachers were being conferred with diplomas.
He said $20,3 million had been distributed to all tertiary institutions in the country while with an additional $4,5 million going to promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
“In 2016, Zimdef support to these institutions is $20,315 515. If the $4,5 million for 2016 A-Level students is added, the total Zimdef support to our institutions this year is $24, 815, 515. There is none of our institution that is not a recipient of Zimdef fund.
“Let us be generous and say muri kuti $450 000 (was abused), this $450 000, which is disputed, is only 1,8 percent of Zimdef 2016 Fund.
Only 1,8 percent of the fund has gone towards what you would call corporate social responsibility. Hamudi izvozvo. Which of the organisation that is as significant as this one does not have corporate social responsibility at this low figure?” said Prof Moyo.
“One would have to be a terrible malcontent or an incorrigible misfit of society not to understand the positive implications of Zimdef’s support for the 2016 A-Level STEM initiative because under that initiative, 5 132 students in all the country’s provinces have been supported. ”
Prof Moyo said Zimdef’s funding of the 21st February Movement, One million Man March and Zimbabwe Youth Council were national programmes that constituted corporate social responsibility which, as a trustee he reserved the right to determine.
He said all his predecessors had exercised their legal right and policy mandate to determine which programmes to support.
The difference is that the predecessors were doing it quietly and clandestinely and we have done it too publicly in broad daylight with the media and everybody and then they say aaahh, ko mabhasikoro aya abvakupi? Vamwe vaingoita vachinopa zvinhu, some of the things that have been built are not even working.
“History will record that some desperate political interests have sought to treat as unusual, illegal and corrupt the public programmes that I have supported as an expression of my policy mandate and legal discretion in my capacity as Zimdef Trustee,” said Prof Moyo.
“It is one thing for people to disagree with these choices or not to like my choices but quite another for them to label the choices unusual, illegal or corrupt simply because they do not like them or do not fit with their political interest. That I cannot accept. In fact, that should not be acceptable in a normal functioning society.
“And as far as I am concerned, we will object in the strongest possible terms and we will fight to the end and logical conclusion because it is about people quarrelling with other people’s discharge of their responsibilities. Our responsibilities as Zimdef Trustee are given not by ourselves, not from my predecessors.
“They are given by our appointing authority. Saka kana mune nyaya, siyanai neni. I did not appoint myself. I have an appointing authority and am accountable to that authority and I understand the boundaries and parameters of the policies and the law.”
Prof Moyo said Zimdef was neither a student fund, scholarship or cadetship but its purpose was to research, plan, develop and train human capital or skills needed by the country’s economy.
“Those who are abusing the public media to present Zimdef as a student fund or a scholarship are not only mischievous in their mistaken conclusion or ignorance but what they are saying in presenting Zimdef as a student fund is a misrepresentation which, if not handled properly, can end up as a threat to national security in so far as it is being used to incite students to organise demonstrations believing that Zimdef is a scholarship fund. That will not be allowed, make no mistake about that.
“This is important to understand in light of ignorant and malicious public statements that are not only backward and primitive but that are also very dangerous,” said Prof Moyo.
He said there was a culture of singling out individuals or communities for stigmatisation or demonisation as what happened in 2004 when a prize giving day at Dinyane Primary School in Tsholotsho was mischievously regarded as an attempted coup.
Earlier on Madziwa Teachers’ College principal, Mrs Memory Moyo urged students to aim higher in life. She said the institution had embraced STEM as introduced by their parent ministry.