After donating $1 million to the African Union in a magnanimous gesture, Zimbabwe is set to spend $1 billion on building the Robert Gabriel Mugabe University.

Professor Jonathan Moyo, the Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister was quoted saying, “Cabinet has approved a grant of US$800 million towards the construction of The Robert Gabriel Mugabe University, and a grant of US$200 million towards the establishment of the University’s Endowment Fund for Research and Innovation.”

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The university will be located in Mazowe District, in Mashonaland central, 36km from Harare and has President Mugabe and his wife Grace Mugabe as the founding trustees. The university, a Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) institution is set to help in the discovery of scientific, technological and engineering solutions to improve the quality of life in Zimbabwe.

Supporters carry placards showing Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (R) and the First Lady Grace (L), as thousands supporters of Zimbabwe Zanu PF party gather at an open space to show their support, in Harare, Zimbabwe, 25 May 2016. More than 600,000 US dollars have been used to fund this event dubbed ‘One Million Men March’ for delegates from 10 provinces, on food, transport and accomodation. EPA/AARON UFUMELI

Prof. Moyo further said, “It is a very expensive university but it is also very necessary.”

Earlier this year,Zimbabwe faced challenges in paying its civil service salaries. Prof Moyo said there was no better way to recognize President Mugabe and his commitment to education and his exemplary leadership. Mugabe has for a long time come under fire for staying too long in power. Despite turning 93 this year, he is set to contest elections next year.

The amount of money to be spent building the Robert Gabriel Mugabe University has come under criticism from the opposition who termed it “populism that defies logic” and a project “meant to stroke Mugabe’s ego.” The opposition suggested that the money could be channeled to improving the state of existing universities.

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Zimbabwe’s economy is still struggling to get on its feet and many of the country’s graduates end up seeking jobs in neighbouring southern African countries.