Grace Mugabe’s doctorate: UZ remains mum

THE University of Zimbabwe (UZ) has remained mum on the conferment of Doctor of Philosophy degree on First Lady Grace Mugabe despite questions and speculation being raised over the accolade.


Over a week after Grace graduated at the once prestigious institution, analysts said the UZ was not doing itself any good by remaining quiet in the wake of the controversies surrounding the PhD.

They said the credibility of the UZ was now at stake, amid claims that the institution’s continental rating had fallen drastically since the graduation ceremony.

The analysts said the UZ’s silence over the issue appeared to confirm critics who claim the conferment could have been dubious.

Grace was capped by her husband, President Robert Mugabe alongside Vice-President Joice Mujuru. The Vice-President already has a Master’s Degree in Strategic Management.

She studied for her PhD in the Faculty of Commerce and her thesis is available on the UZ website.

Grace is known to have graduated with a first degree in the Chinese Language completed in 2011 after four years of distance learning with the People’s University of China. There is however no indication that she studied for any other degree before graduating with the Doctorate recently. A Masters’ degree is mandatory before one can study for a PhD.

A week before the graduation, Higher and Tertiary Education minister Olivia Muchena commended Mujuru for being diligent in her studies despite having to juggle multiple responsibilities during the launch of the Zim Asset training programme for legislators.

“We have heard about how the President worked hard under difficult circumstances to attain several degrees but we also have another example of a hard worker in Vice-President Joice Mujuru who will be graduating with a PhD next week,” Muchena said.

Muchena however told The Standard on Friday that whoever had issues with the manner Grace was conferred with a doctorate should register their aversion with the university.

“The university has procedures that can be followed [to establish the facts]. Anybody who is unhappy with it should check with the university,” she said.

On the day of the graduation, UZ vice-chancellor Levi Nyagura described the graduation ceremony as “historic” and added that it was not likely to be repeated in future.

“This graduation ceremony is a historic event which is very difficult, if not impossible, to repeat in the near future,” he said.
“Allow m
e to single out a very special and unique graduand, the First Lady, who shall be presented to you for conferment of a degree . . . May you also allow me to single out the Vice-President who shall be presented to you for conferment of a degree.”

Sometime in July, it was reported that the First Lady had registered for a doctoral degree with the institution.

In Zimbabwe it takes a minimum of three years to complete a PhD.

Reports indicate that UZ senior lecturers were mooting to write a letter of protest to the university council, the institution’s highest decision-making body, over the awarding of the doctoral degree to Grace.

UZ public relations director Dennis Rwafa had not responded to the questions e-mailed to him, as per request, by the time of going to press.

Sources at the university said only holders of Masters degrees could be admitted to do a PhD, and would still have to go through a rigorous selection process. Among the basic requirements, one should have published work with a recognised institution or journal.

26 Responses to Grace Mugabe’s doctorate: UZ remains mum

  1. Wasu September 21, 2014 at 11:29 am #

    Even a graduate with a good first degree can proceed to a PhD. The we shouldnt forget that if the first lady firs registered for a Masters, there are chances that it was upgraded

    • Chenjerai Hove September 21, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

      At the UZ, it is like this: you have to have an honours degree which entitles you to enroll first for an MPhil degree which, if you do well in the first year, can be upgraded to a Doctor of Philosophy and it takes not less than three years to get the DPhil.. It is not correct to say that anyone with a good first degree can proceed to a PhD.The rules are simple: the dissertation has to be defended publicly, and the candidate has to have the dissertation bound into a book, deposited with the library of the UZ as well as the faculty, with a clear indication of who the supervisor was, and who the external supervisors were.

      Please don’t let our university go to the dogs.

      • Nazmo September 22, 2014 at 12:42 am #

        Thank you Mr Hove for clearing the air surrounding this rather ridiculous saga.

  2. Chitofu Zuva September 21, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

    The truth about this fiction will come out one day. I feel sorry for Prof. Nyagura, who has an earned doctorate, who now finds himself being dragged into this political quagmire at the expense of his professionalism. What can you do Levi? You need that job.

    • Tengenenge September 21, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

      You dont know Nyagura well. He is a disgustingly self important thug who just happens to hold a doctorate

  3. Cde September 21, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

    To the Vice Chancellor, sorry for sure. You are caught in a tight spot. You have soiled your reputation and that of the varsity along with it. To all Zimbos, every nation gets leaders it deserves. These are the fruits of 31st July outcome…mind you more to come.

    • Tengenenge September 21, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

      NO Sorry there !! How is he allowing this silence or how did he allow that to happen —it reflects his true colours

  4. Tengenenge September 21, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

    Point of correction Mr Editor, A Masters’ degree , is NOT mandatory before one can study for a PhD, especially a D Phil. That said, all thesis academic records have to be public.

  5. Watanga September 21, 2014 at 3:50 pm #

    Wasu and Tengenenge are both right to say a masters degree is mandatory. With a good first degree, one can register and work on his MPhil and then istead of graduating at masters level will upgrade his/her thesis to DPhil and work to graduate with a doctrate. This should take a minimum of five years (2 year MPhil work plus a further 3 years for DPhil). That having been said Dr. Grace’s doctrate remains dubious. Thank you.

  6. Watanga September 21, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

    The first statement should read Wasu and Tengenenge are both right to say a masters degree in NOT mandatory. Sorry guys for first post.

  7. Chenjerai Hove September 21, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    I worked hard to get my UZ degree, and if it so easy for some people to just arrive and get a PhD the following morning, I feel ashamed of my old university. It is a disgrace that a reputable university which has produced so many academics of high standing can do this to us.

    After all, procedures have been breached even in the case of the Vice Chancellor who has been there for longer than the rules of the university’s Vice-Chancellorship. His term is supposed to be maximum two terms of four years each, adding up to 8 years. But Prof Nyagura has been there for over 14 years. What is this?

  8. Watanga September 21, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

    Sorry umwe wangu Chenjerai Hove. Cde Levi will not stop the music until illustrious sons and daughters of the soil have graduated with PhDs (not from Zindoga Shopping Centre in Waterfalls). Wait very soon to hear that Cde Rugary EBOLA Gumpoh has graduated with a PhD in applied chemistry. The thesis will be ‘Provision of POWDERED WATER’ The case of Chingwizi floods victim camp. Other cdes will also be best students elsewhere……

  9. Prosper Chinamhora September 21, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

    Cde Grace Mugabe’s Phd is not for looking for work, she already has a flourishing business venture, very successful. It can even be an honorary Phd. it only changes her title to Dr. Grace Mugabe chete, its a useless paper kwavari, havadi kutorishandisa. its not even an important kuti was it given or earned. Universities do give these out without going for a referendum kuti those opposed to ZANU(PF) munotiyi? focus on important issues, heyi mhani

    • kalulu September 21, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

      You are just exposing your ignorance your reasoning clearly shows that you do not know much about institutions of higher learning. Why don’t you confine yourself to what you know.

    • Earned UZ graduate September 22, 2014 at 1:29 pm #

      You my brother clearly know nothing about institutions of higher learning , so please do us a favour and restrain from commenting on academic issues

    • Mapingu September 24, 2014 at 7:09 pm #

      @Prosper Chinamhora: Zvauri kutaura zvinoratidza kuti hadzimo. Kune munhu angafamba achikuva zvinhu zvasinadi kushandisa? Anenge akakwana here munhu iyeye? Then, uri kuti it can even be honorary, ndiwe wavakutorichinja ipopano papublic platform kuti ihonorary haunyari? Do you think its that easy for any fool to just wake up and call a particular degree whatever they want? Even the UZ VC , Levi or the Chancellor, Robert, in normal society of coz, cant just wake up one morning and declare that “degree riye rataka paDisGrace tichiti its an ‘academic achievement’ rachinja rave honorary”. Its not as easy as that. Kana ranga riri honorary it should have been said so, and surely no one has made much noise about anyone being awarded an honorary degree.

      Zvauri kutaura zvakafanana nokuti, zvakaitwa naGono ari kureserve bank zvakana zvokuemployer munhu wekumunyorera degree becoz ane mazimari aakatoba kare endi hadi kuri shandisa. That’s bullshit.

  10. Kanengoni September 21, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

    We the poor need the local universities to stay true so that our children can at least have decent recognisable degrees.What Levi has done is to destroy this.Grace could have graduated in Singapore or China she got the money to do that why destroy our children future as if it’s not enough .Why keep orphans who their role model took 2months to get a PhD and the thesis is not available for critique .

    • Vanotambura September 21, 2014 at 10:30 pm #

      Bona mudoko supposedly worked for hers. She most likely knows the truth compared to the parents.
      The dad now 90+???. Not wanting to sound disrespectful to the elders, aging does significantly affect any rational thinking. Anyway, can universities not defrock those with dubiously acquired qualifications? Nguva ichatonga yega. UZ yakatofa kare.

  11. Earned UZ graduate September 22, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    Looting at its lowest, kuloooter nemadegree chaiwo

  12. Vince Charamba September 22, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    The abnormal is normal in Zimbabwe. Why else would the abuse of power be so easy?

    Zimbabwe is no longer a colony of Britain and the people are too useless to say enough is enough.

    It is going to have to get a lot worse before people wake up and realise that Zanupf are servants of Chinese colonisers.

  13. SHAME September 22, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

    Grace’s PHD is a big SHAME! One wonders why our president should stoop so low as to confer such a mockery to his dear wife.But is the president still really normal?What about Levy Nyagura? Why destroy that once envied institution? Please GOD help!!!!!!

  14. TAMANDAI September 22, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

    Sori kwazvo….

  15. conmuc September 23, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

    chenjerai Hove wen you went to high school things were a bit tough coz there was no google at your finger tips to help you out. now becoz of internet access its easy for scholars of nowadays

  16. Mapingu September 24, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

    For all we have been told so far, before Dr Grace got her PhD recently, she had been reported to have graduated with a 1st degree in Chinese Language or Chinese Languages; or rather something of that sort. Now my 1st question is:

    1) Does this mean she studied ‘Sociology’ in Chinese, as a language?

    If the answer is a ‘NO’ to my 1st question, then it would mean Dr DisDrace’s 1st degree was not in Sociology; which up to now I believe is the case given what we have been told so far. Then, in that case I even get more confused, to the extent that following questions are justifiable:

    2) So, what does it take for one to be admitted in Sociology Masters programme @ UZ, these days?

    3) Can anyone, be enrolled as long as they have a 1st degree, regardless of the area of study?

    These are really genuine questions dear Cdes; may the honorable professors in UZ Sociology Dept/Faculty openly share this information. I,for one, wouldn’t mind enrolling for a Master in Sociology with my BSc degree given the chances that it will even be upgrade to PhD, which I can be awarded in less than 6 months of enrolment as long as I worker as hard as Dr DisGrace. I’m sure I am very much up to the challenge, all I need is the right information and will go for it.

    Over and above, I would also be very grateful to get it from the same UZ Sociology professors if special requests have so been made for Dr DisGrace to be conferred with Emeritus Professorship; and also for her to help the Dept/Faculty with lectureship – on part-time basis of course becoz the 1st Lady has serious national commitments, yet at the same time she possesses the very talent required at such institution of higher learning.

  17. Elizabeth Toyitoyi September 27, 2014 at 11:09 pm #

    May I please ask the lecturers in the Dept. of Sociology at UZ if, in your Departmental Board meetings, you ever discussed or were updated, as expected, on the progress or otherwise Grace was making in her so called PhD studies? Surely some of you should know but are not shark enough to tell the nation that nothing like that ever took place. I am certain it also shocked you to learn that Grace failed in the high jump (7%) BUT was number one in the pole vault.

  18. paipa September 28, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    What an academic sin!!!

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