By Blessings Mashaya
Former Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo has accused his successor Amon Murwira of misleading legislators by claiming in Parliament last week that the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (Stem) programme was abandoned because of rampant abuse of resources.
Murwira told Members of Parliament in the National Assembly last week that an audit of the Stem programme unearthed unbridled abuse of money which was given to certain private schools.
“The money was being misused; it was used to pay private institutions and because of that issue, we are saying that we continuously urge the studying of science, technology, engineering and mathematics using other means but not through giving scholarships to ‘‘A’’ Level students,” he said.
“We did a forensic audit and there was rampant abuse of funds. I am answering in this fashion as a result of the findings of the forensic audit.
“There are some people who are appearing before the courts in connection with allegations of abusing funds. So, if the matter is before the courts I cannot comment because it is sub judice.”
The Stem thrust was initiated by Moyo, who is now in exile.
It was introduced after the uptake of the science subjects at ‘‘A’’ Level had declined.
At its peak, 10 students who registered for Stem subjects in 2016 stood a chance to win a trip of a lifetime to Microsoft and other Silicon Valley Stem companies in the United States.
Moyo who introduced the programme has come out guns blazing saying Murwira was offside.
“… Murirwa shamelessly told shameful lies in Parliament yesterday Re: the A-Level Stem Scholarship Initiative launched in 2016 as a 10-year government programme with Cabinet approval. Murirwa’s claim that ‘a forensic audit unearthed rampant corruption’ is a wicked political lie,” he said.
“If a forensic audit unearthed ‘rampant corruption’, which is false, that still would not be a reason for scrapping the programme.
“Even idiots know that you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. MPs must demand to see the forensic audit of the A-Level Stem Scholarships,” Moyo said.
The exiled politician also took a dig at Murwira, saying the Higher Education minister was trying to “compensate for his ineptitude by telling apocryphal stories about the A-Level Stem Scholarships. His mendacity is crazy. Enough is enough!”
Moyo said before Stem scholarships, less than 2 500 ‘‘A’’Level pupils per year did Stem and the majority went to foreign varsities.
“Stem scholarships addressed this to grow a pool for local varsities!” he said, arguing it is mandatory for higher education to plan for this.
“To say the ‘mandate’ of Higher Education doesn’t cover ‘‘A’’Level students is false. Mnangagwa said so in vain in 2016. So there is no need for rocket science to see why the ‘‘A’’Level Stem Scholarships initiative has been scrapped. It’s satanic to use lies to justify the scrapping!” he added. DailyNews