University of Zimbabwe’s Department of Sociology has broken its silence concerning the award of a PhD to ex-First Lady Grace Mugabe, saying the qualification was fake and earned without the department’s knowledge or involvement.
The department has since engaged Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights which has written to UZ Vice Chancellor Prof. Levi Nyagura, compelling him to revoke the doctorate degree and nullify it immediately.
The institution is also expected to make a public statement concerning the revocation.
The Sociology Department Board has said the award of the degree constituted “academic corruption and criminal abuse of office” in terms of Section 174 of the Criminal Law on the part of anyone implicated in the case.
Grace graduated in 2014, but, in a departure from the norm, the university did not publish her 226-page thesis, entitled “The changing social structure and functions of the family: The case of children’s homes in Zimbabwe.”
The thesis was only published in January under the name Ntombizodwa Grace Marufu.
Prof Nyagura has been given seven days to respond to the issues, failure of which the department would approach the courts of law for appropriate recourse.
“The candidate earned the degree without the knowledge or involvement of the Sociology Department Board, from the application, acceptance, supervision, examination, to the award of the degree.
“The Sociology Department Board has never approved anything in respect of the candidate’s research or thesis.
“The members of Sociology Department Board were shocked at the news that the candidate was awarded the degree by the sociology department,” reads the letter of demand to Prof. Nyagura.
The Sociology Department Board said the requisite procedures were not followed and there was a complete disregard of university rules, processes and procedures.
“The candidate was therefore not subjected to the processes, conditions, and standards demanded of all other doctoral candidates within the Department and indeed within the University.
“The Sociology Department Board was not privy to these acts of omissions and commissions, save for the Acting Chairperson of the Board, Prof. Claude Mararike, who was apparently the candidate’s supervisor,” the letter of demand reads.
The Sociology Department Board also claims that the quality of the final product was not controlled by qualified professionals, “if at all research was conducted to warrant conferment of such a degree.”