Lecturers from the Department of Sociology at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) are reported to have filed a petition with the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) and called for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the awarding of a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree to former first lady Grace Mugabe. Former president Robert Mugabe’s wife was awarded the PhD from the UZ’s Faculty of Social Studies Department of Sociology in 2014. However, the degree attracted intense criticism and speculation after claims that Grace did not defend her thesis, let alone write one and that she did not take the required period of time to complete it.
Now the lecturers in the Sociology Department are reported to have disavowed any knowledge of Grace fulfilling any of the requirements for completing the degree. Zacc is looking into the matter, and the weekly newspaper, the Zimbabwe Independent, reports that UZ vice-chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura and UZ lecturer Professor Claude Mararike face arrest over allegations of abuse of office for fraudulently conferring the degree on Grace.
Grace was awarded the degree when her husband, former president Robert Mugabe was the Chancellor of all state universities while Olivia Muchena was the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education.
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Part of the Petition submitted to ZACC by the lecturers from Department of Sociology reads:
This was a shock to many members of the department as most members ‘never (saw) or heard about the proposal, progress reports, thesis examiners and outcome’ of such study by the candidate. In fact, all of the departmental board members ‘heard about the graduation in the media and saw the pictures on the university calendar the following year
In addition, at least the two chairpersons who were the incumbents of office during the time when the candidate should have registered and worked on the PhD also ‘know nothing about it’.
…The awarding of the degree has therefore not gone through processes that other candidates are subjected to which makes the awarding of the degree suspicious.
Grace’s thesis is yet to be released into the public domain. However, that of former Vice President Joice Mujuru and those of other candidates who graduated on the same day with the former first lady are now publicly available. In November last year, students from the University of Zimbabwe went on strike demanding that Grace Mugabe’s degree should be recalled. The students also demanded the resignation of then-President Robert Mugabe. The students only returned to their classes after then Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Constantino Chiwenga urged them to continue with their education.
More: Read Full Article In The Independent