Amon Murwira

A SIMMERING dispute between the Higher and Tertiary Education and the newly-established Skills Audit and Development ministries has escalated into a full-blown turf war, raising concerns about the potential disruption of crucial skills development initiatives in Zimbabwe.

NewsDay has been informed that the two ministries are locked in a fierce battle over control of the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) and the National Manpower Advisory Council (Namco).

This power struggle has reportedly thrown the operations of both organisations into disarray, jeopardising their ability to fulfil their mandates.

Zimdef was established soon after independence in 1980 to mobilise, manage and distribute resources for human capital development and plays a vital role in nurturing the skilled workforce needed to propel Zimbabwe towards an industrialised and modernised economy.

However, its control has become a contentious point between the two ministries.

Functioning as a public-private sector partnership established by an Act of Parliament, Namco — established late into independence, has the responsibility to independently investigate and make recommendations on skills development matters.

Its role in shaping the national skills landscape is significant, and the current dispute threatens its ability to operate effectively.

Previously, both Zimdef and Namco operated under the purview of the Higher and Tertiary Education ministry.

However, the creation of the new Skills Audit and Development ministry has ignited a contest for control, with each ministry laying claim to oversight of these crucial institutions.

“The Higher and Tertiary Education ministry is worried that the dispute could disrupt existing skills development programmes and hinder the overall effectiveness of the skills development ecosystem,” an insider said.

Skills Audit and Development minister Paul Mavhima downplayed the rift, but acknowledged that there are people who are “encouraging” the tussle for control.

“Yes, me and minister (Amon) Murwira are being made to fight by some people over Zimdef and Namco,” he said.

“People are saying who will control the institutions and which Act will administer them. We are spending a lot of time tussling, but we are one government. We cannot do that.” — NewsDay

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