The Said Business School has continued to take criticism from its professors for its association with Zimbabwean Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube.
Speaking to Cherwell, Simukai Chigudu, Associate Professor of African Politics at the Oxford Department of International Development, claimed that he had sent an email in protest to Professor Peter Tufano dean of the Business School.
Professor Chigudu also claimed that similar emails were sent to Professor Tufano by a number of his colleagues.
In particular, Professor Chigudu named Professor of Commonwealth Studies Jocelyn Alexander, Lecturer in African History and Politics Dan Hodgkinson, and Associate Professor in African Politics Miles Tendi as having made an appeal to Professor Tufano.
Cherwell has contacted Professor Alexander, Professor Hodgkinson, and Professor Tendi to confirm these claims.
Professor Alexander confirmed Chigudu’s claims to be true, and stated that Tufano had responded to her e-mail on Wednesday by “[defending] the ongoing value of the school’s association with Prof Ncube.”
Professor Alexander said: “My concern was and is that Prof Ncube’s association with the SBS accords him a status and legitimacy that he no longer deserves owing to his defence of the brutal crackdown by the ZANU(PF) government, of which he is a prominent and highly visible part, since 14 January this year.
“This crackdown is by no means over. A recent report by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (a highly reputed consortium of Zimbabwean human rights NGOS), called ‘On the Days of Darkness in Zimbabwe’, records 17 extra-judicial killings, the vast majority by soldier and police, 16 cases of rape by the same, 26 abductions by suspected security agents, nearly 600 assaults, some of them extremely serious, using whips, chains, iron rods and batons, and nearly 1,000 arbitrary arrests.
“The military continues to be deployed and the rule of law has been severely undermined. The Forum writes that, “Since 14 January 2019 there has been a wanton assault on the Constitution by the government, the police, the military, and some magistrates and prosecutors’ (p. 14).
“All of this has been defended publicly (or simply denied) by Professor Ncube. The US, UK, EU and others have condemned the Zimbabwean government’s actions.
“That Prof Ncube’s international standing is, under these circumstances, buttressed by his ongoing association with Oxford and the SBS is an affront to all those who have suffered the brunt of the ZANU(PF) crackdown in the past month.
Professor Chigudu elected to share the contents of his letter, which read as follows: “I am writing to you in relation to the deteriorating political and economic situation in my home country. As I am sure you are aware, trade unions and civil society leaders recently called for a mass stay away from work and a peaceful protest in response to a 250% hike in fuel prices instigated by the government.
“In response, the government has launched a systematic, violent and repressive campaign against those suspected to be involved with the stay away and the protests. In the last week, we have witnessed the shocking and entirely disproportionate use of state force to quell the protests and to punish protestors as well as opposition and civic leaders.
“The actions of the state are nothing short of abuse in the form of intimidation, beatings, and imprisonment without trial or due process of many hundreds of people. Indeed, there are reports coming out from human rights organisations — both local and international — confirming that children as young as 14 years old have been arrested and denied access to food, water or legal representation.
“Further still, state security forces have fired live ammunition into protesting crowds causing many to suffer from gunshot wounds and killing at least 15 people.
“I believe that these events are of concern to you given that Zimbabwe’s Minister of Finance, Professor Mthuli Ncube, is a visiting professor at SBS. As a member of the ZANU(PF) government, Prof Ncube bears indirect responsibility for state-led repression.
“Moreover, Prof Ncube has made no effort to distance himself from the ruling regime but will in fact attend Davos as a representative of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“I am writing to urge you to end SBSs association with Prof Ncube and to make clear that your institution condemns the actions of the Zimbabwean government in the strongest possible terms.
“Having been a student at here in Oxford during which time I worked with both the Africa Society and the Africa Business Network, I know that SBS has previously shown great moral concern for social and political justice in Africa. I urge you to show such moral leadership on this matter.”
Ncube, who holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge on “Pricing Options and Stochastic Volatility”, currently remains in his post as a visiting professor at the Said Business School.