Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University this week got the green light to enrol law students after the Council for Legal Education found that the institution’s law school meets the required standards.
ZEGU applied for authority to establish a faculty of law and to offer the Bachelor of Law Honours Degree. After assessing the institution, the Council for Legal Education resolved that ZEGU meets the expected standards and that it must proceed to run its law degree programme.
In a letter to ZEGU’s Dean of Law Mr Caleb Mucheche, the Council approved the application.
“On behalf of the Council for Legal Education, I write to advise that the council has approved the application by the Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University to establish a Faculty of Law and to offer the Bachelor of Laws Honours Degree,” reads part of the letter authored by the council’s secretary Mr Innocent Mawire.
The approval, Mr Mawire said, was subject to the university complying with the requirements of the council.
“Kindly note that the council will be closely monitoring the developments at the faculty with a view to ensure that standards are maintained as the designation of the degree for purposes of registration and admission to practice as a legal practitioner will only be granted during the final year of the first intake to the programme,” reads the letter.
The council hailed ZEGU for its initiatives that are expected to benefit the nation at large.
“May I take this opportunity to congratulate the university for taking this initiative to establish a Faculty of Law, which unassailably is quite a crucial decision as it helps in broadening the frontiers of legal knowledge and education in the country.
“There is no doubt that the nation stands to benefit immensely from the programme as more people will be trained in law thereby increasing a pool of legal skills in Zimbabwe,” Mr Mawire said.
The university will soon advertise for the enrolment of its first intake to commence studies next month. The pioneer intake will start with at least 18 law students who will complete the programme in five years.
In February the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (Zimche) stopped the University from enrolling law students because its law school had not yet been approved.
The university had flighted adverts in the media inviting applications from students, including those who wanted to study law.
It gave February 28, 2016 as the deadline for applications for students who wanted to enrol for the March 2016 intake, while May 30, 2016 was the deadline for the August 2016 intake. Zimche and the Law Society of Zimbabwe immediately raised their reservations.
President Robert Mugabe brewed a storm after he offered the university land worth $2,3 million for free. Officially opening the Zaoga-owned university, Mugabe said the church was not going to pay a dime for the land, which Bindura council had charged $2,3 million.
“Saka iyo taitaura kare kuti mari iyoyo hamuibhadhare, makabhadhara kare neminamato, takabhadhara kare neropa, vakai vakai hamubise kana kobiri rokutenga, ndizvo zvatakarwira, ndozvatakafira. Nzvimbo ino ndanga ndichitoti idiki. Kana moda kuita vana agriculture . . . mining tokutsvagirai kwokuenda monoisa ikoko macampus akati kuti.
(You are not going to pay money for this piece of land, you paid through your prayers, we liberated this country for you to get land. If you want to venture into agriculture . . . mining, tell us, we can give you more land to do what you want),” Mugabe said.
“…Council kana yanga ichitsvaga mari haiwani mari nemutowo iwoyo (Council will not make money through such means),” Mugabe added.
Mugabe’s in-laws the Chikores attend Zaoga church, leading to the general belief that the unfamiliar gesture was reportedly influenced by this relationship.