Co-ordinated by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara’s office, the programme aims at raising US$20 million by the end of year and will kick-off on Saturday with a fundraising dinner where Mbeki will be the guest of honour.
“The UZ, once the beacon of education in the country and the region, has fallen in standards over the years and this programme is aimed at restoring the university to its former position,” said Professor Paul Mavima, principal director at Mutambara’s office.
“We are trying to spearhead African philanthropy by using the UZ as a case study.” Mavima said Vice- President Joice Mujuru was a patron of the programme and was being assisted by DPM Mutambara and Finance minister Tendai Biti.
He said the UZ alumni, the private sector, the civic society and Zimbabweans in the Diaspora were partnering government in the programme and more people, including those who did not study at the UZ, were encouraged to donate to the institution.
The university has already indicated that it needs about US$70 million for various capital projects including the development of geo-technology laboratories, establishment of a technology resource centre, refurbishment of medical and other laboratories as well as the construction of its Graduate School of Management.
UZ Vice-Chancellor Levi Nyagura early this month told journalists that the institution had fallen “on hard times” and was in desperate need of assistance. He said geology and metallurgy departments have had to be suspended due to the unavailability of lecturers while the mining engineering department had no more than three lecturers.
Mavima said students’ halls of residence, together with the water and sewer infrastructure, were other areas that needed attention.