Grace Mugabe’s PhD: Academics speak

FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe defied all odds when she graduated with the Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD) at the University of Zimbabwe on Friday.


News of her feat was received with surprise, even shock, by many who marvelled at how quickly she had worked on it and graduated.

President Robert Mugabe who reportedly has seven degrees, and a host of long serving lecturers at the UZ do not hold PhDs whose attainment is no mean achievement.

Some have questioned Grace’s achievement considering that reports show that she completed her first degree in Chinese Language barely three years ago in 2011.

Grace was part of the 3 274 graduands who were capped by Mugabe, who is the Chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe (UZ).

She graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in the Faculty of Social Studies. Grace was capped along with Vice-President Joice Mujuru, who also graduated with a PhD under the Faculty of Commerce.

But Mujuru already had a Masters degree in Strategic Management attained with Chinhoyi University of Technology.

It was not clear when Grace registered for her PhD with UZ, but a few months ago, it was reported that she had registered for a doctorate with the institution and a well-known UZ sociology professor was her supervisor.

Grace got her first degree through distance learning with the People’s University of China.

It could not be established if she completed the requisite post-graduate degree course to enable her to register for a PhD.

The Standard yesterday asked academics and administrators from different universities the process required to complete a PhD and the requisite entry qualifications.

UZ lecturer Professor Greg Linnington said a doctorate involved writing a thesis and often would take several years for one to finish their research.

“A doctorate involves writing a thesis, after having a research question prepared, write a proposal and then write the thesis where one needs to research on, critique it then it can be marked, but that could take a few years,” Linnington said.

“It however varies with individuals to complete. Some just do a thesis while others might do one with some course work, but usually it’s a minimum of three years.”

He said one needs to have an undergraduate or a Master’s degree but said that also varied from university to university.

Another lecturer and university administrator who refused to be named said one would need a good Master’s degree in order to enrol for a doctorate.

“One would need to make various presentations of each phase during the studies. One also needs to publish their work in a renowned academic journal,” he said.

“The process of research until writing the final thesis takes between three and seven years and for one to pass and be awarded a PhD, they have to make a significant contribution to the body of knowledge.”

He said at most universities, a PhD was an academic apprenticeship which proved that one is an academic expert in that area of study.

“At most universities that are worth their salt, the supervisor for any student must be a Professor with many years’ experience and the final thesis the student writes must be passed by at least two external independent examiners,” said the university administrator.

Another professor said for one to embark on a doctorate, they would need a supervisor and one needs to suggest a topic which would then be passed.

“Qualifications usually needed are a good first degree, a Masters’ degree and then they write a proposal which will go through the university,” he said.

“After that, one has to do their research which is usually between them and their supervisor. And the minimum for one to attain a doctorate is three years. One will have to be an exceptionally brilliant student to finish it in less than three years.”
He also said the thesis is then passed by at least two examiners in which one of those should be an external examiner.

In 2001, The Standard reported that Grace had dismally failed most of the examinations she had written for a University of London Bachelor of Arts (English) degree.

31 Responses to Grace Mugabe’s PhD: Academics speak

  1. Chengozi September 14, 2014 at 10:39 am #

    Dr Disgrace. Doctor of Philosophy in Disgrace, Shameful Activities, Opportunism & Rampant Skirt Lifting. Zhuagong, UZ.

    • Rob September 15, 2014 at 12:59 am #

      Even Mai Mujuru ‘s qualifications to date are questionable, she is a holder of an undergraduate degree, two masters degrees and the recent Phd.

  2. gnasha September 14, 2014 at 11:12 am #

    What an insult to all the genuine UZ graduates.
    The value of a UZ degree has crashed over night.

  3. fatso September 14, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

    Time is the major factor here the good President might depart anytime soon and before that happens something like this ought to happen, good Grace first graduated to be the boss for the woman’s LaLiga and now she is been conferred with a doctorate pamwe chete po. Hazvineyi nefundo, ndokunonzi kudhakisa mastandards kwamaita Mr President.

  4. Labious Chokocha September 14, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

    The conferment of suspicious doctorates on the Zimbabwean political elite is a confirmation that all aspects of Zimbabwean life have been Nikuved. There is nothing genuine anymore as there is a breakdown of morals and morality. How can a simple typist who has flunked her first degree manage to obtain a PhD? It’s all nonsense!

  5. While we Look September 14, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    This family has destroyed Zim while we look but this time they have taken it a step further, to destroy one of the finest university while we look, I do not think they intent to stop here, if given the chance the will destroy Zim to the 3rd and fourth generations. Disgrace…

  6. bingo wokwa Gutu September 14, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

    I worked for UZ for 15 years before leaving due to the collapse of the economy. I have always looked at UZ with pride and was always proud to have been a member of the academic staff at the institution. What is now happening at UZ is really a disgrace! Nyagura has not only managed to destroy the UZ as we used to know it but he has now eroded the respect that has been previously been awarded to graduates of the institution. Its a crying shame but this did not start with Grace, Gono who was then part of council also got a dubious degree from UZ! These selfish and shameless politicians have turned everything in Zimbabwe to dust. I am now more determined than ever to stay and live out my last years on this planet in the diaspora. Zimbabwe has gone beyond the edge there is no hope of the country recovering in the next 100 years.

    • Rob September 15, 2014 at 12:52 am #

      At least Gono’s was an honorary degree

      • tafamutekwe September 15, 2014 at 9:13 am #

        No Rob, Dr. Gedion Gono attained his own Phd. However Dr,Munyaradzi Kereke claimed he wrote most of the research thesis on behalf of his “then” boss. Ironically Kereke does not seem to realize that by such an admission he was in fact also exposing himself as an accomplice to academic fraud.

    • Tshotsha September 15, 2014 at 10:43 am #

      phantastical idiot

    • Mukanya wa Svosve September 15, 2014 at 11:40 am #

      For someone who writes such sensible things how did you get your name?

    • maita September 16, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

      Sure wokwa Gutu Zimbabwe is beyond redemption but with God nothing is impossible, ivhu iri rinodya vane ma fake doctorate nevane ma genuine doctorate saka ndezvenyama izvi.

  7. moto September 14, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

    Its so painful for some of us struggle to attain our degrees, some get them on a silver plate. Shame maningi.

    • Rob September 15, 2014 at 12:55 am #

      Let it not pain you for you are acquiring the requisite knowledge which you will put to good use in life.

  8. Chatsva September 14, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

    Asi mukuru vanoti ruzhinji gwakavharika zvekusaona mayakanana iwaya. Gire dhokota wefiloso……madhokonono

  9. Instil more pain on the cowards Mugabe September 14, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

    all yu do is complain and complain endlessly. very timid and fearful. panotaurwa zvekurwira hupenyu hwenyu nehwevana venyu yu run away. Let Mugabe do as he wish becoz really yu are afraid of him yu bloody cowards. handisati ndamboona nyika inemakwara nemadununu akadai.

    • fungi September 14, 2014 at 10:07 pm #

      kkkkkkkkk kkkkkkkkk

    • Munhu September 14, 2014 at 11:33 pm #

      I’m glad you lived to see the pure UZ years? Instead of giving up how about we go back and make the change that we need to see? We have relatives and our children’s children may want to go back. Let’s not give up on our beloved Zimbabwe- if not for ourselves then let it be for those coming after us.

    • Man Maloose September 15, 2014 at 9:18 am #

      Kwabo kagwala akulasililo.

  10. lepron September 15, 2014 at 12:22 pm #

    While others are terrified of improving themselves academically, these ladies have gone ahead and proved that there is really nothing to be scared of. People, just enroll with any one of the many universities that are spread right round Zimbabwe, and stop making noise.

    • maita September 16, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

      lepron there is no noise we are actually clapping hands at this brilliance lol. Zvinoda mipururu nemiridzo izvi. We were told Mujuru has a masters and nobody has questioned her doctorate but vechinese language degree ava vatove doctor zvinoda kuuchirirwa wena.

  11. KUNAKIREZVO TONGAI September 15, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

    Obviously,Gire could not make it with UNIVERSITY OF LONDON who guard their standards jealously.Above all,MUGABE is not the chancellor of the UNIVERSITY OF LONDON.But who needs the CHINESE language in Zimbabwe anyway?

  12. Martin Chipimo September 15, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    It took me over two years to finish a MBA thesis and it has taken Amai 2012- 12th Sept, 2014!! What a brilliant lady! She finished in less than less two years!!!!!

  13. Labia Minora September 15, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

    Well done Mai Mugabe for graduating with Doctor of Svilosofa. Haters will continue hating and hurting!

  14. Truth Betold September 15, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    The Late Prof. Walter Kamba 1991 Graduation Ceremony Great Hall University of Zimbabwe ” I will be stepping down as the Vice-Chancellor of this University because there many unprofessional fingers meddling in the business of this University”. His words have prophetically been true and especially on the 12th of September 2014. Even Albert Einstein did not have a record 2.5 months to do a PhD but the happenings at the University of Zimbabwe will bring the reputation of the University to its lowest. Why do we as Zimbabweans approve of such despicable activities and claim we are well educated. The senate and council( if there is indeed an active council) have blemished the UZ brand. Never again will it be the same. Whoever is going to graduate with a PhD from this University will be under scrutiny the world over. Put simply with this kind of action, the authorities of UZ have destroyed themselves and their brand. What a fallacy!! This is what happens when systems and institutions mix politics with professionalism.. The results are there to see for everyone. UZ gone gone gone…….

  15. Nazmo September 16, 2014 at 5:38 am #

    What a farce. It only happens here in Zimbabwe. Crazy what else can one say, about a university that has lost all its respect as an institution of higher learning.

  16. the observer September 16, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

    Keith Guza who is a crook and president of the AAG has a PhD. He does not even have any secondary school certificate. Phillip Chiyangwa also has a PhD. He calls himself doctor of money. Then Moses Chunga should be doctor of football. Gideon Gono who murdered the Zimbabwean Economy also has a Phd. My brothers and sisters , what is hapenning in Zimbabwe is symptomatic of a sick state. Munhu kana anakirwa nemukadzi wake mumagumbeze ave kumupromisa hu President ne Phd. Zvakaoma. Kunzima.

    • Bob September 16, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

      Unoti ndichanakirwa nemukadzi here? Ko musana ndichinawo?

      Bona handimupi PHD anogona kuzviverengera. Asi Chatunga na Robert……just wait and see.

  17. maita September 16, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

    Coming out of UZ these days with a degree is just a stroll in the park. I will tell you there was a time when most companies shunned UZ graduates for NUST unfortunately the tentacles of sheniganism seems to have encroached into NUST, though it has some semblance of normalcy, but UZ zvotyisa wena.

  18. oops September 18, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

    Dr. Disgrace Gucci Phd!

  19. Dr Gongomwanawechirombo September 21, 2014 at 6:25 am #

    Dr Disgrace congratulations4 completing Phd thesis in 2,5months.Indeed the UZ has gone to the dogs,thanks to Chancellor Matibili who has been presiding over the most corrupt&evil Cabal in Zim living History.UZ stinks of filthy corruption thanks to Matibili &Disgrace who are both evil&corrupt to the bonemarrow.Lest we forget that it Ngwazi Matibili who NIGERIANISED our once prestigious UZ by forcibly admitting Mengistu Haile Medium’s children into the UZ medical school without adequate entry points,he also forced thru Mushowe into the Masters programme after he was marked down by the late Professor John Makombe.The late Dr Kempton Makamure, the late Professors Kamba&Makombe must be turning in their graves with anger with the hyper-corruption at UZ.Power corrupts,absolute Power corrupts absolutely!.

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