Pamela Shumba and Thandeka Moyo Chronicle Reporters
BULAWAYO residents have said the process of aligning the country’s laws with the new constitution is taking very long and is being done from the scrutiny of the public.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs chairperson Cde Ziyambi Ziyambi yesterday said residents were candid during ongoing public hearing meetings on moves to amend the Constitution.
“My team was in Bulawayo today (yesterday) and we will go to Mutare to hold another meeting. Basically, members of the public have raised three concerns which include the fact that they are not happy with a slow pace taken to align the laws of Zimbabwe to the new Constitution,” said Cde Ziyambi.
“The other concern was they feel much was not done to raise awareness on the constitution with some saying they have never seen it. They argued that we cannot amend a constitution that they know nothing of.”
He said some residents had welcomed the amendment saying it gave them a chance to incorporate their views.
“Some said the current constitution comprised their views and they are happy that we are considering amending it. After our visits, we will compile a report and invite members of the Law Society of Zimbabwe to make their submissions before we submit any recommendations to Parliament,” said Cde Ziyambi.
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development has called on the Government to expedite the completion of unfinished projects at institutions of higher learning so that they effectively carry out their mandate.
Speaking after touring Lupane State University (LSU), Bulawayo Polytechnic and the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) with other committee members and Zimdef officials yesterday, the committee’s chairperson Cde Peter Mataruse said it was important for the Government to prioritise the completion of the projects.
The tour, which started on Tuesday and ends on Monday is meant to assess projects that are being funded by Zimdef at institutions of higher learning.
“We appreciate what the Government has done so far to improve education standards at universities, but we’re concerned about unfinished projects that are affecting these universities.
“We’re surprised that lecturers and students, both male and female, are sharing the same building. It’s not a good arrangement. We’re appealing to the Government to look into this issue as a matter of urgency,” said Cde Mataruse.
He said Nust has a number of projects that have been in limbo for several years while LSU had only one faculty operating from Lupane while the rest are operating from Bulawayo due to lack of funds.
“LSU has incomplete structures, which include the kitchen, dining hall, lecturers’ residence and a hostel for male students. It’s important for the Government to channel funds towards the completion of these projects so that the university carries out its mandate effectively.
“Nust also has research projects that they have not been able to complete due to lack of funds yet research is a critical component of university education that can bring solutions to problems that our industries and communities are facing,” said Cde Mataruse.
LSU Vice Chancellor Professor Pardon Kuipa said the university requires $2,5 million to complete its projects and $12 million for each of the six buildings that need to be constructed at the university.
“Government injected $16 million but most of the buildings are not yet suitable to be occupied.
“Zimdef stepped in with $2,8 million and we’re grateful because we managed to connect electricity, water, sewage systems and purchase other things such as beds for the students and curtains,” said Prof Kuipa.
He said the money was, however, not sufficient to complete the structures.
“We still require $2,5 million to complete the structures. We only have one faculty operating from Lupane while the rest are in Bulawayo. We need six more buildings at the university for the different faculties and these require $12 million each.
“We are hoping that the $4 million that was allocated to the university by Treasury will be disbursed,” said Prof Kuipa.