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77 goats die at LSU due to procurement malpractices

by Stephen Jakes
22 May 2022 at 12:38hrs | Views
Seventy-seven (77) goats died at Lupane State University due to procurement malpractices in a clear abuse of state funds.

The $52 000 000 for Innovation and Industrialisation from ZIMDEF has come and gone.

 The money was meant to purchase Matabele goats, Kalahari and Boer goats.

 However, indications are that none of the purchased goats resembles the Boer and Matabele goats.

Insiders say the University has a Farms Committee and Agricultural experts, but the project was run by non Agricultural experts, including the Vice-Chancellor, Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor, Procurement Manager, and the Acting Director for Innovation.

"This is done to facilitate procurement malpractices and embezzlement of funds. 500 indigenous hard Mashona type goats have been bought from different subsistence farmers in Masvingo and a few from Binga. It is known that Matabeleland South has good breeds of goats, but it is not surprising as the University buys bond paper from Chinhoyi because of the Procurement Manager," said the insider.

"Through shady procurement deals, farmers disposed of sickly and old goats to the University. If the parent ministry and ZIMDEF do not intervene, they will be severe mortalities during the peak of the winter."

Indications are that the University used a runner to purchase all the 500 goats from different subsistence farmers.

The money would be transferred to the runner who uses different briefcase company names purporting to be a farm.

"The runner will purchase foreign currency from the street to purchase goats since most farmers require foreign currency for their goats.
The runner used is not an Agriculture expert resulting in just buying the purchase of old and sick goats not suitable for breeding. Of the 500 goats purchased, 77 have died in a month, and this number will grow, and no one is accountable for such a loss," said the insider.

 "One farm employee was subjected to disciplinary action and had to explain why eight (8) goats had died over a year, yet no one will account for why 77 goats died within a month. In less than two months, the total mortality is 15% of the total income."

Revelations are that the goats were ferried in car boots where there was no breathing air, while the others were in a trailer all the way to Lupane from Masvingo.

Experts in Agriculture highlighted that the high mortality rate of goats resulted from moving animals from the red zone region without clearance and pre-inoculation against the advice from Lupane animal vet and Agriculture experts in the Faculty.

"The goats were supposed to be vaccinated before being transported to Lupane. This was expected as the Procurement Manager identified the farmers and goats and has no knowledge and or agricultural expertise but considers personal enrichment through bribes from suppliers," insider said.

"The goats purchased are an eyesore, and it’s shocking as most of them are stunted and small in stature and cannot be compared with those from local villagers. One wonders what the newly appointed Director of the Innovation Hub will achieve with this lot of goats."

Insiders quizzed the experience and expertise of the Director if 77 goats could die within a month, and the majority were sick with diarrhoea and flue.

"One wonders how the unit will be innovative when they cant practice village level animal husbandry. The goats cannot be compared with the ones in the University plot, which were purchased through proper procedures and are healthier and of good quality," insider said.

 "Surprisingly, the Vice-Chancellor decided to take goats purchased through a previous RCZ grant to be part of the Innovation and industrialisation goat project to deceive stakeholders into believing they were purchased through ZIMDEF funds since some of the funds were embezzled. "

This move by the Vice-Chancellor and his newly sworn-in Director insiders say  has shut channels of advice and left Agricultural experts to watch from the terraces as disastrous decisions are being made based on self-enrichment and disfranchising local communities.

They said a family in Lupane was heard saying if it happens that their goats are affected by the disease from LSU, which is killing their goats, they will sue the University for the loss.

 Community leaders expressed dismay saying they didn’t expect an institute to cause harm to the community, but rather it should improve the community.

"This can only happen in Matabeleland, where a Vice-Chancellor can abuse state funds willy nilly and not observe all animal husbandry procedures by bringing goats from red zones to threaten the community’s livelihoods. The University plot has no carrying capacity for such a large number of goats," insider said.

Insiders are surprised how an Innovation hub can be competing with subsistence farmers instead of concentrating on breeding and research.

The indigenous goats do not have a market as the farmers around Lupane have better quality goats than those at the University.

 The goats are not known whether they are for breeding or resale.

 "If they are for resale, there are no abattoirs at the University. This will surely be a waste of state resources," said insider .

Another employee confirmed on condition of anonymity that the goats were bought in the absence of facilities in place, and they were over-crowded in the research kraals.

"To ease congestion, goats are allowed to feed in the bush resulting in one goat being hit by a car. Agricultural experts will know the plot’s holding capacity, but the number of goats has increased, resulting in limited grazing areas as there is no grass and the vegetation is now dry," he said.

 A close source lamented that the Vice-Chancellor requested additional income from ZIMDEF and got the funds to purchase cattle.

"This will cause serious disaster if the anticipated cattle are bought as there is a high risk of incurring more mortalities because there is no grazing area for both cattle and goats since the University does not have a farm," he said.

Others commented that running a university through a quartet will result in failed projects and state resources being abused through procurement fraud and malpractices.

Efforts to get comment from LSU spokesperson Zwelithini Dlamini were fruitless.

Source - Byo24News