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US$1bln Mugabe university

Yamamoto roasts Prof Jonathan Moyo

11/08/2017 00:00:00
by UK Bureau
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EDITORIAL: This is a teaser extract from columnist Ken Yamamoto’s article on the billion-dollar Mugabe legacy university proposed by higher education minister Jonathan Moyo. The article will be published in our opinion section.

LET’S look at the salesman for this project. He is the man that sold it through Mugabe’s cabinet. His name is Jonathan Moyo. As a general rule, don’t trust anyone who wants to call himself/herself professor this or that or doctor this or that.

Such people push title first to gain some credibility – but they have serious competence shortcomings. The moment you hear the professor or doctor prefix, it’s a ploy for you to give them a 20% head-start before they take the exam. To put this into context, we don’t even know Albert Einstein as professor Albert Einstein, but his ideas changed the world and will continue to.

Mr. Jonathan Moyo has no record of achieving anything in government – or successfully executing anything significant. I would be happy to get feedback on his achievements. When he was in government at the turn of the century, he fragmented the state television and radio companies into all sorts ineffective units with zero critical mass. It was a failed exercise. But he pitched this idea in terms so grandiose that had it been achievable, that company would have been the NHK of Africa.

When he came back into Mugabe’s government the second time in 2013, Moyo made more grandiose promises. For example, in January 2015, Moyo promised to deliver digital broadcasting in line with the June 17 International Telecommunications Union deadline of the same year. He never delivered on that. If anything, Zimbabwe is still on analogue broadcasting in 2017. Wherever he goes, Mr. Moyo has this big idea so grandiose that he oversells it and delivers so little on it.

You don’t have to go far to see his style. Various sources credit him with having worked on his party’s manifesto for the 2013 elections. His grandiose ideas shine so patently through it. Two million jobs to be created in five years for example! The facts on the ground are that jobs have been lost.

Various sources also credit him for helping craft Mugabe government’s economic programme, known as ZIMASSET – another grandiose programme. Its only when the number-crunchers started looking through it that they found out it requires over $20 billion dollars to implement.


You don’t have to go far to see that Mr. Moyo’s ideas are all hat and no cowboy; all froth and no beer; all sizzle and no steak!

One billion dollars?

What is a billion dollars? According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, in a whole year, millions of Zimbabweans scattered in many places across the world after running away from Mugabe’s inept government remit just under one billion dollars every year to their families in Zimbabwe. If the ‘grant’ to Mugabe were to happen, theoretically, every dollar and twenty-five cents that a Zimbabwean remits home would be transferred to Mugabe and his family. That’s a staggering number!

Let’s flip this over and view it differently from different vantage points.  You don’t have to look far to see the stupidity of this proposition. Zimbabwe’s 2017 budget projects total expenditure of $4.1 billion. The same budget projects revenue collection of $3,7 billion creating a budget deficit of $400 million. Simply put, Mugabe’s government is underfunded and choking in debt.

So, why would someone want to ‘grant’ 27% of total projected national revenues to private hands via a greenfield university? The same budget projected that only $520 million will be used for national capital expenditure projects because of the $3.7 billion revenue, the government wages and expenditure consume $3 billion. So why would anyone want to ‘grant’ one billion dollars to a private project while spending half that on national priority investments?

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