BY SILAS NKALA
Lupane State University (LSU) vice-chancellor Pardon Kuipa is in an eye of a storm after it emerged that his daughter, who only has a Master’s degree was appointed a lecturer ahead of PhD holders with teaching experience.
Kuipa, however, insists that the appointment of his daughter Florence, a holder of a Master of Science in Risk Management degree from the University of East London, was done above board without his involvement.
LSU insiders alleges that Florence is under-qualified to be a lecturer and accuse the vice-chancellor of nepotism.
“Her degree class is a 2.2, which has been considered as that of an average candidate in the past.
“LSU has other teaching assistants, who have Master’s and teaching experience but were not even considered,” said a senior academic at the Matabeleland North-based varsity.
“She was interviewed mid-morning to lunch on Wednesday June 3 and on Thursday June 4 at 8am she was introduced to the staff.”
An offer letter signed by LSU registrar Jairos Makunde dated June 3 to Florence reads: “After completing three years of service, you can be considered for tenure as contained in section 8 of Ordinance 2 of 2018.”
The letter also states that Florence will be entitled to a salary of $20 088 per month, the first notch of grade 6a scale.
But disgruntled LSU staffers said Florence was appointed for a lecturing position for a programme, which had no students since it was purportedly introduced two years ago.
There were also allegations that Kuipa was employing lecturers from Chinhoyi University of Technology University ahead of qualified locals.
The sources said the recruitment of the lecturers came after Kuipa introduced an engineering programme, which was never approved by Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education.
They allege the lecturers have for the past two years been paid for doing nothing as there are no students doing that programme.
“The university is now buying everything from Chinhoyi companies, even small things like bond paper, plugs and toner cartridges. “He (Kuipa) buys from companies he has interests in,” said a lecturer who requested to remain anonymous.
“He is using the procurement department to siphon funds and we believe he is here to destroy and loot resources.
“After his contract he goes, while LSU is becoming worse and worse,” said a concerned community member.
LSU spokesperson Zwelithini Dhlamini said he was in a remote area and was not aware of the latest developments at the institution.
Dhlamini advised this publication to contact Makunde, but he was not reachable on his mobile phone.
Kuipa said he was not involved in the recruitment of his daughter, but refused to comment on the other issues claiming he was not aware of them.
“I have seen one on my daughter, that is the one I can comment on. She applied and she was considered for an interview,” he said.
“There is nowhere where it says just because I am employed there, so you must not apply. It is not possible.
“What happened is that she applied and when the process was conducted, I had recused myself from being involved.”
Kuipa also dismissed allegations that he was sidelining lecturers from the region, saying the tribalism allegations started soon after he was appointed in 2015.
“You remember legislator [Priscilla Misihairabwi] Mushonga saying in Parliament that why someone from outside Matabeleland was being appointed to lead an institution in Matabeleland. There are tribal issues involved,” Kuipa said.
“All this emanates from tribalism and this might be because I started relocating some faculties from Bulawayo to the Lupane campus with some not wanting to move.
“We have taken two faculties to campus and left commerce, which still operates from Bulawayo and some people did not want to move to Lupane.
“For commerce, we are putting up hostels and once we are done commerce will relocate to campus.”