In social places, he is described in derogatory language, in professional circles he is portrayed as paranoid; his name is Lazarus Dokora, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.
Dokora is now facing a lawsuit over alleged stealing of a concept ‘electronic Ministry Application Platform (e-MAP) from a Harare based software firm Purple Devine Technology. The company has applied to the High Court, giving the ministry 24-hour ultimatum to stop the online registration process.
This is Zimbabwe’s probably most infamous minister. Since coming to the helm of the primary education ministry, Dokora has proposed what Zimbabweans has described as outrageous acts and proposals.
Dokora is termed the ugly guy for overseeing all those controversial things like the” national Pledge that forced every school child to recite a national pledge of Zimbabwe”
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe teachers Association both opposed the pledge calling it propaganda and unconstitutional.
Opposition political parties described it as “fascists”.
He faced controversy when he embarked on surprise visits to schools in order to catch school heads napping, banned extra lessons, as well his assertions that the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) was functioning well, banned vocation holidays (that hurt boarding school students) and even suggested that students should report parents to Traditional Chiefs if they fail to pay schools fees.
Outrageous was his utterances that parents should pack condoms for their children in school bags, but would not allow condoms to be openly distributed at schools.
Perhaps his latest gaffe is the proposal that applicants for form 1 should enrol using e-enrolment (the alleged stolen concept) when all a few schools are connected internet and the majority in rural areas are not electrified.
The Minister suggest in his latest ‘ faux pa’ that students and parents don’t have to leave their homes, but simply feed into a system at their local school or information centre or cell-phones if they choose. The schools in turn will set-up admission committees so that the responsibility does not convert into a huge temptation to the school head.
Parents are complaining that the e-enrolment system is causing a lot of confusion as they are failing to get places for their form 1 for their children.
National media has quoted some parents saying the e-enrolment was causing many challenges to them with the ministry website slow to respond.
Some parents said they were computer illiterate forcing them to pay for extra services at internet cafes.
Prior to his political life Dokara was a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe where he taught Introduction to theories of Communication, Mass communication, International Media Structures and Media economics.
Dokora who always wear a bemused expression and an almost unkempt beard was promoted to the education ministry in 2013 when he became a Member of Parliament representing the Rushinga Constituency. Despite all these infamous acts and controversy has not been reproved by his employer Robert Mugabe.