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Archaic Academics A Threat To Progress

I WAS very disappointed to watch a programme on ZTV entitled Dzimbabwe on Saturday October 11 at 1900 hours which featured panellists from the University of Zimbabwe, namely Professor Claude Mararike, Professor Isheunesu Mupepereki and Dr Vimbai Chivaura.

The topic of discussion was Kuonesana/Ngativonei/Nga-
tivhurei Maziso, literally translated it means opening one’s eyes or enlightenment. I had earlier been warned by colleagues not to watch ZTV as it is still pursuing a propaganda agenda for the so-called ruling party. I however ignored their advice and watched the programme anyway.
The programme mocks the opposition MDC party leadership and prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai in a less than subtle way. The trio under the chairmanship of Mararike likened Tsvangirai to Tshombe –– a traitor in the Congolese civil war.
Tshombe is said to have sold out to the Belgians which led to the death of prime minister Patrice Lumumba. This programme may have served its purpose as a propaganda strategy by the former ruling party Zanu PF before the harmonised  March 29 elections.
But surely for three academics from the University of Zimbabwe –– obviously with tacit approval from the ZTV acting chief  executive Happison Muchechetere –– to continue to insult Zimbabweans six months after the March 2008 elections where Zanu PF and Mugabe were rejected by the people is grossly  irresponsible.
Partisan programmes like Dzimbabwe are not appropriate and are certainly not in line with the spirit of the MoU and the September 15 agreement ushering in the formation of an all inclusive government signed by Tsvangirai of the MDC-T, Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara. The likes of Mararike give academics a bad name.
How can they allow themselves to be used to pursue a dangerous partisan interest at a time when the nation is keen to move forward in unison? I would have expected the trio to discuss the  problems being faced by state universities which failed to open for this semester. For instance the University of Zimbabwe has failed to re-open due to unavailability of both academic and non academic staff which has resulted in the failure to release students’ results from previous semesters.
There is a serious water problem at the UZ and this has put the lives of both staff and students in great danger especially with cholera cases being reported in Chitungwiza where close to 10 lives have been lost. The same problems occurring at the UZ are being experienced at  the other state universities throughout the country.
This year grade seven students did not write exams on the set date because of non-availability of teachers who complain of poor remuneration. The victim in all the above cases is the student who has lost almost the whole year of learning because of politicians with misplaced priorities who put first their interests at the expense of the masses.
Parents and relatives who sponsor students will have to dig deeper into their empty pockets to support students who have lost time because of the impasse caused by political leaders who lost legitimacy in the March harmonised elections.
Parents send their children to school with a burning desire to see them learn and be enlightened  and hope that our educated offspring contribute to the wellbeing of the country. But these so-called intellectuals give the academics and the University of Zimbabwe a bad name because instead of positively contributing to the success of the historic MoU and the September 15 deal they are busy poisoning the process.  
One wonders what their real motivation for their obstinacy is. ZTV cannot be forgiven for its apparent failure to safeguard the interests of the majority. It is the hope of every progressive Zimbabwean to see the success of the recently signed agreement but it becomes baffling to witness a state broadcaster trying to destroy the same.
Instead we expect the state broadcaster to be in the forefront supporting the initiative, hence we urge them to stop the madness and concentrate on issues that are in the best interest of the country. Leave the likes of Mararike, Mupepereki and Chivaura to remain in the past at their own peril.

Lovemore Kadenge

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