The Zimbabwe Ministry of Education has given permission for the Church of the Province of Central Africa to build an Anglican university. On 26 June 2015 the Rt. Rev. Chad Gandiya, Bishop of Harare, (pictured) wrote to supporters a provisional license had been granted to begin construction on the US $120 million project in Chitungwiza, approximately 20 miles southeast of Harare.
In April 2014 Dr. Gandiya held a press conference announcing to build an Anglican university to serve the Central African nation. The 25-year project envisions building a technical university serving 8000 students with a special focus on life sciences. The country presently has nine state sponsored and six private recognized as degree granting institutions by by the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education.
Dr. Gandiya told the press conference last year that it “”makes sense for the (new) University to be placed in Chitungwiza, a city that is growing and a home to many institutions providing secondary school education. Currently residents of this city have no choice to seek university education from other towns and cities.”
“Among the several disciplines the university focus will be biomedical sciences and obviously this noble mission is a mammoth task but it is part of our mission to serve all members of our nation regardless of religious or political alignment or affiliation, and regardless of gender or age,” he said.
Plans for the university were put in jeopardy earlier this year, when the land set aside by the diocese for the school was seized by political militants. On 26 April 2015 approximately 1000 members of the ZANU-PF youth wing invaded the St Mary’s Church in Chitungwiza during Sunday services and demanded the vicar turn over to them the church’s 82-hectare farm to compensate ZANU-PF for the crimes of the Rhodesian regime.
The diocese went to court seeking redress, and on 10 May 2015 the security services evicted the squatters and burnt the shacks they had built. It was ironic that members of the ruling ZANU-PF party would seize church land set aside to build a university, said the former Bishop of Harare, the Rt. Rev. Peter Hatendi .
“I am sorry,” he explained, but the “youths are misinformed” about how the church acquired the land and how it has used its resources to serve the nation. Bishop Knight Bruce “humbly applied for gifts of land from local Chiefs of the day between 1891 and 1892, for the purpose of carrying out missionary activities for the benefit of the Chief’s subjects.
The mission farms were registered with the white settlers as required by the law,” he said, adding that “missions were situated in native reserves for the provision of education to the black natives. Bantu education was not a priority of Rhodesian settlers.” He added: “Lest Zanu PF youths forget that some of the senior members of the nationalist movement of the liberation of Zimbabwe received their early education from some mission or rural schools that were built and supervised by Anglican Mission priests.”