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. http://www.pindula.co.zw/21st_February_Movement. 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. http://www.pindula.co.zw/21st_February_Movement.
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. http://www.thepatriot.co.zw/old_posts/civil-society-and-the-failure-of-the-regime-change-agenda.