By Costa Nkomo

MORE than 250 National University of Science and Technology (NUST) students joined their Chancellor President Robert Mugabe in Matopo on the 25thof February 2017 to commemorate President Mugabe’s 93rd birthday.  It was the 31st 21st movement celebration session held in Matebeleland south province for the first time in history.

The 21st February Movement was established in 1986 to encourage Zimbabweans, the youths in particular, to emulate President Mugabe’s revolutionary ideas, charismatic leadership and selfless policies. President Mugabe was born on the 21st of February 1924 and he turned 93 years on 21 February 2017.

The 21st movement inspired young academics at NUST as they believe President Mugabe‘s legacy shapes student politics and the leadership spectrum. Nust Students Representative Council Organising Secretary, Billy Muchipisi said:

“The 21st movement is not just a birthday celebration but it has become an extended platform that we fish out leadership skills and learn from our chancellor how to implement hybrid political model for the betterment of our country”

The 2017 21st February movement ran under the theme:  “Honouring Our Icon, Unlocking Value in Youth.”

The 21st movement has emerged as a networking platform that connects students from higher learning institutions all over the corners of the country. By doing so students get to mingle and discuss issues affecting them at tertiary levels and map the way forward.

“The 21st movement promote a culture of peace and unity, a gospel that our chancellor has been preaching since independence. It cultivates and motivates our political inner persons to become politically conscious thereby resuscitating our political urgency as the custodians of President Mugabe’s legacy”, said Terrence Shoko, Nust Student Representative Council President.

From the students point of view,   much   celebration is  not  93 years of President Mugabe but it  is  his  pro-indigenous students  education policies  not limited to scholarships, Cadetship programs and  Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiative. The STEM initiative came to life in 2016 after President Mugabe saw a relevant need to fund students pursuing sciences for the development of scientific human capital for Zimbabwe so as to match the latest industrial demands.

“My sister is in upper six this year and  the  STEM program is assisting her in a  big  way,  so  we are attending the 21st movement as a  way of appreciating  a  great job  our  chancellor is  doing”, said Courage Ngwenya, student in the department of  estate and  property development.

The Nust SRC members wished that  all interested students should  have  joined their  chancellor in  Matopo,  but  however , due  to logistical  challenges others  chose to  follow proceedings  on the screen at home.

However, some students who spoke on condition of  anonymity feel that the  21st movement  should  match  the  development of  their university given the fact that it has been  long with no single sign of progress towards finishing up  buildings such as  the library.  They said  if they  were  to be  given an opportunity  to  have  audience with their chancellor  they were going to ask for President’s   hand in the  development  of Nust  campus  infrastructure.

“The 21st movement celebration does make a lot of sense to us as academics but we would be more happier if our campus buildings were to be completed, as it stands, the learning environment is not conducive. The incomplete library building is now turning to be a serious ghost settlement,” said Kenneth Moyo, student of journalism and media studies.

Some students lay blame  on  the campus management authorities highlighting  that since the birth of  the  institution the administration has  shown  little  interests  to complete campus  infrastructure .

Humanists and non-governmental organisations have criticised the 21st February movement due to its luxurious spending in the face of abject poverty in most of the country’s households.

Lately, non governmental organisations have been alleged to be working with opposition political camps to inject  the  regime change, an agenda that has failed to this date.


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