By Bridget Mananavire
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has castigated creeping corruption at universities, warning that perpetrators would be brought to book.
He spoke as universities have become hotbeds of dishonesty and moral decay, but instructed university vice chancellors, deans, directors and heads of departments at a meeting in Harare yesterday to deal with the vice now.
This comes just after the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) has said it is probing corruption at the University of Zimbabwe following a petition by lecturers alleging that the country’s largest university is losing millions through corrupt means, including siphoning fees and overpricing of goods.
Also under spotlight is the university’s granting of a doctorate to former first lady Grace Mugabe.
University of Zimbabwe vice chancellor Levi Nyagura told the Daily News just after the meeting that he was not going to comment on the petition by lecturers on alleged corruption at the university.
Mnangagwa said the phenomenon of corruption thrives in a society where people readily forego what is true and good in exchange for selfish interest and expedient unscrupulous acquired wealth.
He said learners must be free to report any cases of corruption without fear or favour and perpetrators should be brought to book.
“It is incumbent upon us all the key personnel in our educational institutions to ensure the integrity of our educational systems remain intact.
The values of honesty, transparency, accountability, responsiveness and high tendency of professional ethics must be promoted, inculcated and maintained throughout every level from the learners to the top administrators within our educational institutions,” he said.
Mnangagwa said government remains concerned with the moral decadency, sugar daddies preying on female learners, prostitution and associated health risks to learners within higher learning institutions and said this situation cannot be allowed to continue unchecked.
“I shall soon have a meeting with our students from institutions of higher learning to listen to their challenges and needs.
As we approach the forthcoming 2018 harmonised elections, I am fully aware that universities and colleges are launch pads for political movements, with students adding their voices to the political discourse, that is welcome,” he said.
He also spoke on universities contributing to problem-solving in the country and connecting themselves with industry, commerce and other renowned international universities and centres of academic excellence to boost their capacity in research and technology development through academic cooperation.
“Thrive to be technology innovation centres, it is also fundamental for us to reward those who would have put effort in creativity and innovation they should be encouraged or recognised through awards prizes as well as the requisite protection of their intellectual property in this regard I exhort the ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to ensure that copyrights patents, and other rights of inventors innovators and other scientists and technologists are fully protected. More concerted efforts to fight piracy,” he said. DailyNews