HARARE – A minister has sparked outrage after mocking Midlands State University (MSU) by suggesting it enrols students with low intelligence.

Deputy Information Minister Energy Mutodi made the comments on Twitter, before flying into a spat with the Zanu PF Youth League whose leaders he said were “full of crap”.

The controversy started after Mutodi tweeted: “After former president Robert Mugabe decided to be buried in a mausoleum, we anticipate the bourgeoisie will soon prefer the same burial as a sign of wealth and class. And the rural folks will call the grave ‘musoromiya’ of course failing in their endeavours to pronounce the term.”

Tazorora Musarurwa, an advocate, responded to Mutodi saying he “I feel sorry for my friends from the University of Cape Town that are so proud of their alma mater.” He added: “Was considering applying for a PhD there as well but I am certainly having second thoughts.”

Mutodi, who graduated with a PhD from the University of Cape Town (UCT) last year, replied: “UCT is Africa’s best university. You can apply but you certainly don’t qualify judging by your IQ. Try MSU instead.”

Hundreds of Twitter users, including former and current MSU students, criticised Mutodi’s comments. He eventually took down his original tweet about Mugabe’s mausoleum, although the subsequent comment about UCT and MSU was still accessible on Wednesday.

“Minister Mutodi must apologise to the Chancellor of MSU President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the nation for the comments he made. This is shocking to say the least,” tweeted Raymond Majongwe, the leader of the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe.

“The fact that he is a government minister and is speaking against an institution of the same state he’s an official of is totally lost on him. If there was an IQ test result we needed to assess this court jester’s eligibility for public office, I’m glad that we now have it!” said journalist Chofamba Sithole.

Mutodi’s comments also attracted a response from Tendai Chirau, the Zanu PF Youth League’s secretary for administration who tweeted: “I repeat once again, Energy Mutodi is not only a liability to government but a liability to his own country. It’s unfortunate that the supposed to be energetic minister has energy to diss his own institutions.”

This did not go down well with Mutodi, who fired back: “For Tendai Chirau, ranking an institution and giving it its proper position is unpatriotic. I don’t know why the ruling party continues to rely on these dunderheads. Probably explains why we have failed in urban constituencies. The youth league is full of crap.”

Chirau would have the final word, saying in response: “On the contrary, the court of public opinion knows that there is a legendary dunderhead occupying the office of Deputy Minister who has misplaced energy.”

Mutodi is not new to controversy. In the past, he has suggested that Ndebeles are foreigners. When a female opposition official was savagely attacked by Zanu PF youths in Kwekwe, Mutodi commented: “No matter how democratic our government can be, we can never guarantee that drunkards and prostitutes stop fighting.” – ZimLive