5 January 2018

Zimbabwe: UZ Lecturers Push for the Nullification of Grace's PhD, Vice Chancellor Faces Arrest

Photo: The Financial Gazette
Grace Mugabe.

University of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor Levi Nyagura faces imminent arrest over the institution's decision to award former First Lady Grace Mugabe a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in 2014.

Sources at the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) revealed that a group of about 15 senior lecturers have written a petition detailing how the UZ abandoned all decorum in the academic field to mollycoddle Grace with the degree.

"Nyagura's docket is complete; he will be arrested anytime. In fact his arrest has only been put on hold to allow the President (Emmerson Mnangagwa)'s program to meet all VCs and polytechnic heads next week without disturbance," New Zimbabwe heard.

According to the privately owned newspaper, The Zimbabwe Independent, which also reported on the impending arrest, the lectures from the Sociology Department want the degree nullified.

In the petition to Zacc, the UZ lecturers from the Sociology Department want an immediate revocation, nullification and with drawl of the degree awarded to Grace. They also want a full investigation of possible abuse of office, corruption and maladministration by Nyagura which they argue has brought the integrity of the country's prime higher education institution into disrepute.

"This came as a shock to many members of the department as most never saw or heard about the proposal, progress reports, thesis and outcome of such a study by the said candidate," reads part of the petition according to the newspaper.

The paper further claims that Claude Mararike, another senior lecturer who was passed off as Grace's supervisor in the farcical charade, could also be caught up in the dragnet.

Grace "graduated" in September 2014 in suspicious circumstances along with then Vice President Joice Mujuru.

Critics at the time said that was a choreographed move by the then First Lady to equal Mujuru's achievement.

The graduation came at a time when Grace had been going around the country accusing senior leaders in Zanu PF of fanning factionalism before the "meet-the-people" rallies turned into a platform for attacking Mujuru leading to her expulsion from government and the party that December.

Since then students have demonstrated against the awarding of the degree to Grace demanding that the thesis be made public to no avail.

However demands have in the past reached a crescendo following Mugabe's removal from power and the rise of his former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa.

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