NUST student and alumna co-founded technical start-up, Rera Online Farm, has emerged the winner of the Zimbabwean leg of the Seedstars World Competition. They have managed to book a spot for themselves in the regional competitions penned for this December in Ivory Coast, after shrugging off stiff competition from nine other innovators.
The Rera online system is a four-year-old brain child of a NUST final year Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering student, Rick Masuku, former Electronic Engineering student Ratanang Noko and a Harare based technical enthusiast, Gladson Dube.
If Rera wins the regional competition in Ivory Coast, the startup will qualify for the global Seedstars Summit, to be held in Switzerland next year in April where the innovators will battle it out with other technical startups from around the globe.
By participating at the Global Seedstars Summit, the online startup stands a chance to win up to US$1 million in equity investment for their project.
The Zimbabwe competition took place on Friday June 29 at Impact Hub Harare, with nine startups pitching in front of a local jury which comprised of Nhena Nyagura from Dandemutande, Ethel Bangwayo from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Sharon Wekwete from Omidyar Network and Lilian Mbayiwa from Old Mutual.
Rera is an online platform that provides an opportunity for consumers to farm their own poultry produce through “three easy steps” which are by signing up for an account on the Rera website, creating their own fowl run by selecting the type of poultry produce and quantity they want to farm and lastly, once they confirm their poultry produce, the Rera sales agents advise the retail consumers on the payment procedure.
According to one of the founders of the online farm, the system could not have come at the right time than now when most people are digitally literate citing how they can save money by trying it out.
“Rera is an online platform that provides an opportunity for consumers to farm their own chicken in less than 5 minutes,it is a simple to use system like any other social media platform most people are familiar to,” said Masuku.
“With a low production cost of about $3.75 per chicken, this cuts costs for farmers, fast food outlets or even any interested buyer,” he added.
By Felix Machiwenyika/ Hazvinei Mwanaka/Sukuoluhle Ndlovu | Newsday
One minute read
RIOT police on Thursday fired teargas canisters to disperse students at Great Zimbabwe University (GZU), who stormed the institution’s Mashava campus protesting against poor diet, unsafe drinking water, hiked tuition fees and withdrawal of wi-fi facilities.
GZU acting vice-chancellor, Andrew Chindanya, confirmed the students’ protests and said they were engaging the union leaders to resolve their grievances.
“I am in the process of talking to them now, we are trying to resolve the situation,” he said.
A student who requested anonymity accused riot police of brutality in crushing the protests which he claimed had been cleared by police in Masvingo.
“We were given the permission to engage in a peaceful demo, but to our surprise the police and campus security guards stormed us with tear smoke and fired guns at us,” he said.
“The standards of living for students have drastically deteriorated, there is shortage of water and sometimes it’s dirty,” another student said.
The demonstrations started in the morning, with groups of students blocking roads to the campus.
“The tuition fee was hiked without consulting us, where do they think we will get that money from? We all know our economic situation. We pay our fees and yet still the campus facilities and management is so poor,” one student who was at the scene said.
“The police arrived at the scene and threw teargas canisters at the students in a bid to force us abandon the demonstration, but we shall continue until the situation is resolved. At least they should provide us with tangible solutions. We want to be treated equally with other students from other campuses, why do they segregate us yet we are from the same university and paying same fees,” said another female student who declined to be named.
NUST students have expressed their joy over the resumption of lectures at the institution following a successful demonstration dubbed “Nust shut down” on Monday.
The students said they were happy that their plea for action had finally been considered.
“We are happy that finally our voice has been heard,” said Mzingaye Ncube a freshman at the university. “We lost a lot of time and I don’t know how we are going to be compensated for that. As students we must always speak with one voice on issues that affect us.”
“…we will continue to defend and protect our rights as students without fear..,”
Nust Student Representative Council president Mr Pablo Chimusoro, who was arrested by police during the protest said he was glad that the “university shutdown’ yielded results.
“We are happy that our voice has been heard and we will continue to defend and protect our rights as students without fear,” Chimusoro said. “The SRC will continue to ensure that the welfare of students is always accommodated for.”
On Monday, anti-riot police pounced on non violent, placard wielding students who were demanding an end to the lecturers strike.The police used water cannons and police dogs to disperse the students.
This reporter was also caught up in the incident and got itchy skin and eyes after he was sprayed with water from the cannons.
Police also went on to raid student’s rooms and arrested some students during the fracas and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human rights had to intervene.
“The 61 students who were picked up by the police were bailed out and we are now back at campus,” said Chimusoro. “We were asked to pay $5 fines for disorderly conduct charges after we were accused of contravening section 41 of the Criminal Law and Reform Act,”
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Precious Simango defended the use of the water cannons which some student activists felt was excessive force.
“I’m aware that there was a demonstration at Nust and police had to use water cannons to disperse the students. The use of water cannons is one of the strategies to handle a mob,” Simango said.
Lecturers had been at loggerheads with the administration over alleged mismanagement of the institution, leading to industrial action that cost students over 4 weeks of learning time.
Students barricaded the National University of Science and Technology on Monday morning in protest against the institution’s inability to resolve issues with lecturers who have been on strike for three weeks .
According to the Nust Student Representative Council (SRC), the protest dubbed #NustShutDown, was staged to compel the institution to resolve the deadlock with lecturers, a situation that has resulted in the disruption of learning.
“Students have not been learning for about four weeks now and we have come to a situation where we have to do just about anything to get the attention of stakeholders at Nust,” said SRC President Pablo Chimusoro.
By 8 a.m, all entrance and exit points had been blocked and nobody was allowed on campus.
Administration staff were stranded at City Hall as their daily bus could not exit to shuttle them to work. Others were stranded in their vehicles along the Cecil Avenue entrance.
The shutdown is happening days after government announced the appointment of Prof Mqhele Dlodlo as substantive Vice Chancellor of the university.
Students barricade university – all entrance/exit points blocked -as they mount pressure on institution to solve lecturers’ strike
21 Feb 2018: Govt appoints Prof Mqhele Dlodlo as substantive Vice Chancellor:
The lack of a proactive and substantive Vice-Chancellor was believed to be a contributing factor in the gross mismanagement of funds by the institution’s executive, hence the appointment
16 Feb 2018: Students join strike
Students marched to the university’s administration offices protesting over the impasse.
13 Feb 2018: Nust takes lecturers to the Labour Court
The university responded to the strike by contesting the legality of the industrial action.
7 Feb 2018: Nust lecturers strike for the second time in the same academic year.
Nust lecturers downed tools, alleging mismanagement at the institution- splashing money on luxurious vehicles at the expense of students’ learning materials and equipment – which they said was crippling the university’s operations.
29 Jan 2018: 2nd Semester of academic year commences.
Second semester commenced amidst high expectations given the new political dispensation in the country
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed Professor Mqhele Dlodlo as National University of Science and Technology (Nust) Vice Chancellor with immediate effect.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister, Prof Amon Murwira confirmed the appointment yesterday.
“We received confirmation from His Excellency. The appointment is with immediate effect. When he starts work that’s an issue of Chairman of Council Ambassador Zenzo Nsimbi,” said Prof Murwira.
The university has been operating without a substantive Vice Chancellor since the expiry of the late Prof Lindela Ndlovu’s contract in 2015.
The university’s Pro Vice-Chancellor Prof Samson Sibanda has been acting since then.
Prof Murwira said Prof Dlodlo has a mammoth task to address the challenges at Nust.
Nust has been experiencing some problems that have resulted in lecturers going on strike protesting against alleged mismanagement.
Prof Murwira said Government will fully support Prof Dlodlo to ensure that there are positive developments at Nust. “There is a lot of work to be done at Nust and we will support Prof Dlodlo to enable him to deliver. We should not spend our time bickering but we must deliver,” said Prof Murwira.
He said he was mindful of the fact that the absence of a substantive Vice Chancellor could have negatively affected the university’s operations and was confident the challenges facing the institution will soon be addressed.
Prof Dlodlo served as a principal lecturer and head of Electrical Craft Department at Bulawayo Polytechnic from 1983 to 1992.
In 2000, he joined Nust as a senior lecturer in the department of Electronic Engineering before being promoted to the post of Dean in the faculty of Industrial Technology from May 2002 to December 2003.
He joined the University of Cape Town as an Associate professor in January 2005 and also served as Assistant Dean in Internationalisation from January 2011 to December 2015. At the time of his appointment as Nust vice chancellor, Prof Dlodlo was still working in South Africa. — @nqotshili.
As expected the Ninja president and his Vigilance Band gave a spirited performance, blending the new and the old.
He performed songs from the new album that was launched on his birthday but nothing was new in terms of living up to expectations.
The album, which is a mixture of party and dance songs, has already proven to be a hit.
Those who did not make it to the HICC got their fair share of the Gafa’s worldclass act at Nust.
Winky D who got on stage at around half one launched his performance with old songs from previous albums with the crowd singing along throughout.
As if in trance the Disappear hit-maker performed his seemingly favourite song Ngirozi, from the new album featuring choral group, Vabati VaJehova, more than three times with the crowd responding well to the new gospel dance hall tune.
Winky D kept the students on their feet with songs like Toyi Toyi, Old School, Green Like Me Garden and Godo.
He left the stage at 3.30am yesterday and the crowd kept clamouring for more.
First Copy of Gombwe Sold For US$40 000
Businessman and socialite Genius “Ginimbi” Kadungure bought the first copy of Winky D’s latest album, Gombwe, for $40 000 during its launch on Friday night at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC).
Ginimbi who is known for flaunting his wealth on social media wanted to buy the auctioned disc at $20 000 but he was forced to revise the initial amount after flamboyant Albert Ndabambi ‘outshined’ him by bidding the CD for $30 000.
Ginimbi dug deeper into his pockets forking another $20 000 to make it $40 000 in total.
At the end of the night, Winky D smiled all the way to the bank with a cool $70 000, a lump sum.- (Chronicle)
South Sudanese StudentsGo Green
Midlands State University South Sudan Students, in conjunction with the National Forest Commission, embarked on a tree planting exercise at the Graduate School of Business Leadership campus on the 30th of January 2018.
The exercise aimed at creating a vibrant and healthy environment for the students and the surrounding communities.
The project coordinator, Kan Gueh Kan Lapdhor, highlighted that the initiative was driven by the ideals of Zimbabwe’s National Tree Planting Day which is held annually in December.
Ladphor said the initiative was meant to improve the learning, working and living environment for Midlands State University and the surrounding community as trees provide clean air.
“The role of trees on the planet is comparable to that of lungs in human beings. Therefore, it is imperative to plant trees at our University to improve the living conditions of human beings and bring balance to the ecosystem through the production of clean air,” said Kan.
The Midlands State University International Relations Office also highlighted that this initiative came as a result of the need to join the world in combating global warming which has affected most parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.
International Relations Office representative, Qinisani Bhebe, weighed in on the tree planting initiative by highlighting its contribution towards the reduction of global warming.
Mr Ilunga, representing the Student Affairs Division, applauded the efforts made by the Midlands State University International students towards creating a green environment.
Ilunga went on to thank the National Forest Commission for the donation of two hundred and fifty trees.
“As the Student Affairs Division, we would like to commend the South Sudan students for coming up and implementing an initiative that would help preserve our environment.”
This tree planting initiative is also going to leave a lasting legacy of their courtesy not only towards Midlands State University but the nation at large.
This tree planting exercise shall be an ongoing process at Midlands State University as the International students scale up their fight against global warming to make this world a better place to live in.- (MSU Facebook)
Govt to review harsh media laws
“Zimbabwe was one of the first countries to introduce legislation on access to information-the AIPPA Act, but unfortunately, AIPPA is better in prohibiting access to information than in facilitating it,”
Government says it is in the process of aligning media laws with the constitution as well as reviewing some laws that impede the smooth operation of the media.
The media is Zimbabwe is operating under harsh conditions which have seen various journalists being arrested for stories they would have written and also failing to access information from public institutions.
Speaking at the launch of the European Union and Norwegian government funded Media and Elections Program, Acting Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Simon Khaya-Moyo said work is already under way to align the laws.
“At policy level, the Ministry of Information is in the process of aligning the two pieces of media legislation that fall within its purview that is the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) with the constitution, they must be aligned with the constitution and we are working expeditiously to ensure this is accomplished.
“The ministry is also alive to the fact that there are other laws that affect the media and continues to engage with other government stakeholders to ensure that we create a more favourable working environment for the media,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion Head of European Union Delegation to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Philippe Van Damme said if the media is to play its role of reinforcing accountability then the stringent laws must be address as matter of urgent.
“If we want the media to full play their role of informing public debate and reinforcing scrutiny and accountability of electoral and democratic processes, the issues will need to be addressed, not only through the legal framework, but also in the way the laws are effectively applied.
“Zimbabwe was one of the first countries to introduce legislation on access to information-the AIPPA Act, but unfortunately, as you all know, AIPPA is better in prohibiting access to information than in facilitating it,” he said.
Ambassador Van Damme added that the media is also constrained in its watchdog role by harsh economic conditions and general lack of professional skills and deontological standards.
He said the media is also constrained by threats from politicians or other wealthy and/or well-connected individuals under the investigations.- (Daniel Chingundu/Open Parly ZW)
HARARE (Reuters) – The University of Zimbabwe has published former First Lady Grace Mugabe’s PhD thesis after an anti-corruption watchdog said it was investigating whether the wife of ousted President Robert Mugabe was wrongly awarded a doctorate three years ago.
Grace graduated in 2014, the same year she launched her career in the ruling ZANU-PF party, a power push that led ultimately to November’s de facto coup by political rivals worried she was set to take over from her husband.
In contravention of its normal practice, the university did not publish her 226-page thesis, entitled “The changing social structure and functions of the family: The case of children’s homes in Zimbabwe”, until this week, when it was released on its website (ir.uz.ac.zw/handle/10646/3463).
It was not clear why Grace, who runs a children’s home near her family dairy farm outside Harare, used her second name and maiden surname – Ntombizodwa G. Marufu – for the paper.
University of Zimbabwe vice chancellor Levi Nyagura did not respond to calls for comment.
There had been widespread speculation that Grace had been fraudulently awarded the doctorate, which was dedicated to her husband “because of his dedication and commitment to the well-being of the people of Zimbabwe”.
But Grace, who was lauded as “learned mother of the nation” by adulating followers, defended her academic record, telling a ZANU-PF rally in September that she had earned her PhD when her detractors thought otherwise.
In its abstract, Grace acknowledged that one weakness of her research was that “some interviewees tended to tell me what they thought I wanted to hear”.
Goodson Nguni, lead investigator at the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission, could not be reached for comment on whether the anti-graft agency would continue with its probe.
New President Emmerson Mnangagwa has made fighting corruption a top priority. Mnangagwa, 75, told the World Economic Forum in Davos this week Mugabe and his wife Grace had not been granted immunity from prosecution.
Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Ed Cropley and Ralph Boulton
THE framing Grace Mugabe as a powerful politician by the state media after assuming the position ofZanu PF Women’s League Secretary in 2014 was not sufficient to win the assent of the Zimbabweans. Instead, it resulted in backlash.
From a typist in the office of the president, to a lavish personality reminiscent of Marie Antoinette, spouse to the French king, Louis XVI of the 1770’s; various interpretations have been made of Mrs Mugabe’s character before and after her controversial marriage to Robert Mugabe in 1996.
Some have called her a woman of lose morals. Others, varsity students included, have made a parody of Grace’s rags-to-riches persona, which seems to have struck a hornet’s nest across the country.
In a bid to side-track this given background, Grace Mugabe was accorded a PhD at the University of Zimbabwe in 2014 and soon became known as ‘Doctor Amai,’ a narrative the state media believed to be more appealing to the masses This was a clear imposition of a character that never was.
Later that year, in the so-called‘Meet the People Tour’ rallies in which Mrs Mugabe single handed purged the then Vice President, Joice Mujuru from Zanu PF, she failed to acquire and exhibit the voice and behaviour of a PhD holder.
‘…Mrs Mugabe’s thesis is alleged to be non-existent…’
Mrs Mugabe’s thesis, entitled: ‘The changing social structure, the functions of the family: The case of children’s homes in Zimbabwe’ is however, alleged to be non-existent. Students have called for it to beavailed to them for the past three years, to no avail.
The conferment of PhDs to academics takes a long and strenuous route in which writing the final thesis requires a minimum of three years. For one to pass, they should have made a significant input to the intellectual fountain.
But, for Mrs Mugabe, it took her only three months. Her husband, then Chancellor of all universities, accorded her a doctorate, a development that struck the raw nerve of student activists across the country and took the media by storm in its various formats. On social media, students and other concerned academics blatantly called it “fake degree”.
Students and academics are lobbying the University of Zimbabwe to revoke Grace Mugabe’s PhD degree as soon as possible.
‘…Professor Levi Nyagura, UZ Vice Chancellor, must apologise and resign…’
The groups are also demanding an explanation from Professor Levi Nyagura, UZ Vice Chancellor, to ‘clear the air’ on how Mrs Mugabe was accorded the PhD.
Zimbabwe Congress of Student Union (Zicosu) led by President Takudzwa Gambiza demanded for the immediate revocation of Mrs Mugabe’s PhD which they perceive as a threat to Zimbabwe’s cherished education system.
“It’s of paramount importance that the fake PhD should be revoked, and a public apology issued by those who committed that heinous academic fraud”, Gambiza said.
Zicosu treasurer general, Godknows Mudhari also said academic achievements accrue as a result of hard work only.
“It is uttermost disrespect when fellow students are awarded such degrees on a silver platter,” said Mudhari. If this thesis is not authenticated then the degree should be revoked or UZ should award all of us the same degree for free.”
Fast forward to November 2017, having proved to the nation and the rest of the globe, that she was not nearer to being a PhD holder, Mrs Mugabe committed political suicide by unleashing venom on the person of the then Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, a move that catalysed the liberation of Zimbabweans from an impending Mugabe dynasty.
“It has come to the attention of the University that a dissertation cover page with the title “An analysis of Facebook debates on Zodwa wa Bantu’s ban from Zimbabwe’s Harare Festival … is circulating on social media”
MIDLANDS State University (MSU) has dismissed reports that it received a dissertation with a title “An analysis of Facebook debates on Zodwa wa Bantu’s ban from Zimbabwe’s Harare Festival” that is circulating on the social media.
In a press statement yesterday, MSU said the University does not distribute or share submissions or dissertations wholly or in part, with the public through non-official platforms.
The MSU statement comes after an image allegedly of a front cover of a dissertation by a student started circulating on social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp.
The image purports that a student wrote the dissertation after South African entertainment queen Zodwa wa Bantu was denied permission by the Government to perform at the Harare Festival that was held last month.
Reads part of the press statement from MSU: “It has come to the attention of the University that a dissertation cover page with the title “An analysis of Facebook debates on Zodwa wa Bantu’s ban from Zimbabwe’s Harare Festival” that is purported to be a cover page of a dissertation submitted to MSU, is circulating on social media and this has led to unfortunate and misinformed speculations about the institution, staff and students.
“The impression that has been created on social media, as a result of the viral image, is that the University has received a document with the said cover page or it has already been examined. While we acknowledge the amount of interest this viral image has created, we wish to bring to the attention of our publics a few points that may assist in framing the discussions.”
The submission of dissertations or any other examinable material is done through clearly-defined procedures and to designated offices where such submissions are recorded.
“Students are still working towards the submission of their dissertations for examination. All successfully completed dissertations — those which would have passed the test of rigour and quality — are submitted to the University and can be accessed from our institutional repository via the University library. Because dissertations are examination documents, the University does not distribute or share them, wholly or in part, with the public through non-official platforms.
“Students work on their dissertations for a minimum period of two semesters although the actual writing takes place in their final semester when they register for the dissertation module.
“The University upholds the spirit of creativity, ingenuity and academic freedom, for both students and staff, as long as these meet set conditions for quality and rigour. We have a tested system of checks and balances to achieve these goals. Therefore, a research on any topic or theme will still be tested for these conditions,” reads the statement.