Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister, Senator David Coltart has come under fire for flouting tender procedures and compromising education by allegedly corruptly awarding publishing house, Longman Zimbabwe, the sole responsibility to publish primary school textbooks ahead of local book houses.
The education Minister came under fire in the House of Assembly after Zanu PF Gokwe Central legislator, Cde Dorothy Mangami moved a motion for debate on the report of the Portfolio Committee on Education, Sport, Arts and Culture on primary and secondary schools textbooks distribution under the Education Transition Fund.
The report revealed the awarding of a tender to Longman Zimbabwe to be the sole publisher of primary school textbooks had been corruptly done.
There were also allegations that Senator Coltart himself personally awarded the tender to Longman Zimbabwe.
â€œWe received complaints from book houses and after investigations, we found out that the process was violated. The results were later availed to 3 houses but tender results were awarded without writing to the other houses,â€ said Cde Mangami.
MDC-T Chitungwiza North House of Assembly Member, Mr Fidelis Mhashu who seconded the motion described the Ministerâ€™s stance as gross corruption which will lead to a collapse in the education sector.
He said Mr Coltart has contravened section 22, subsection 3 part 4 of statutory instrument 171 of 2002 which stipulates that bidders are supposed to be informed with reason as to the failure or success of their bid for tender, in writing and openly.
â€œThe Minister hid behind international laws which he chose over local ones. There was blatant favour as Longman Zimbabwe is a front for its British parent company,â€ said Mr Mhashu.
Zanu PF Uzumba legislator, Cde Simbaneuta Mudarikwa questioned the type of education that Senator Coltartâ€™s Ministry intends to administer to Zimbabwean children, adding that he should have chosen transparency over corrupt tendencies which compromise the countryâ€™s literacy rate.
â€œEducation makes the being and this will affect the literacy rate which is one of the best on the continent. We cannot compromise our childrenâ€™s future because of greedy and corrupt tendencies,â€ Cde Mudarikwa said.
The accusations leveled against the Minister emanate from governmentâ€™s efforts to achieve the one book to one pupil ration.
Though the ratio was achieved, Longman Zimbabwe had been awarded the bulky of the work while the Zimbabwe Publishing House and College Press were left to share the smaller remainder.
It is also alleged the tender process also flouted the indigenisation and empowerment laws.