Offensive against First Lady exposed

First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe (left), accompanied by sons Robert Junior and Bellarmine Chatunga, follows proceedings during the UZ graduation ceremony where she graduated with a doctorate

First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe (left), accompanied by sons Robert Junior and Bellarmine Chatunga, follows proceedings during the UZ graduation ceremony where she graduated with a doctorate

Hebert Zharare Deputy News Editor
VICE President Dr Joice Mujuru’s thesis is already in the University of Zimbabwe Library barely a month after she graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy degree along with 11 other graduands among them First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe. Investigations by The Herald, however, show that out of the 12 doctorates, only the VP’s thesis titled “A Strategic Exploratory Entrepreneurship Study of Sustainable Agricultural Business: Case Studies of Mitchel and Mitchel in Mashonaland East and Dotito Irrigation Scheme in Mashonaland Central Province’’ is on the library shelf and has been archived.

The First Lady and Vice President were part of the 12 doctorate holders capped by UZ Chancellor, President Mugabe on September 12, the others being:

  • Masaka Johnson,
  • Dokora Lazarus, 
  • Maposa Richard,
  • Mlambo Obert, 
  • Nhamo Ancila, 
  • Zengeya Fadzai,
  • Icishahayo David, 
  • Munyati Shungu,
  • Gumbe Samuel
  • Marunda Edmond 

In the wake of the First Lady’s graduation, there have been frenzied reports by some sections of the local private and international media questioning the First Lady’s degree, with some reports claiming she enrolled at the University of Zimbabwe a few months before the graduation ceremony.

The local private and international media have published some scandalous articles about Amai Mugabe’s doctorate and just recently the Daily News led the charge saying: “The First Lady Grace Mugabe’s PhD thesis is mysteriously missing on the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) website.”

The paper also quoted the Zimbabwe National Students’ Union as piling pressure on the University of Zimbabwe, describing Amai Mugabe’s PhD as a “genetically modified doctorate” which shamed local academia.

On September 22, the Newsday weighed in with a story headlined “Grace Mugabe’s masters research ‘upgraded’ to PhD,” that was picked from Reuters.
And the mysterious appearance of only VP Mujuru’s thesis on the library shelf out of the 12 theses points to a sinister agenda on the part of those behind the media offensive to fuel their allegations on the First Lady’s PhD.

A senior academic at the University of Zimbabwe, who didn’t want to be named given how the matter has been politicised, yesterday said the process of authenticating, indexing and publishing dissertations and the theses took at least 12 months after graduation.

“When the student’s final thesis has been accepted by the supervisor or nominated academic (by the Panel of Examiners) the student submits bound copies and a CD to the Post-Graduate Centre. These items are then submitted or deposited to the library.

“The library will also place the thesis in a queue so that it can be processed (indexing and cataloguing are carried out by the library) until the thesis is finally placed on the shelf and the university’s e-resources. These processes take a while after graduation.

“Some thesis will take about a year or more to be available on the shelves of the library. There is, however, no stipulated time on how long it will take to have a thesis available in the library. But surely it cannot be found in the library’s shelf immediately after graduation. It is highly unusual and raises eyebrows,” the academic said.

A staffer in the Great Library also said whoever was behind the mysterious appearance of the VP’s thesis wanted the spotlight on the First Lady’s doctorate by virtue of the absence of her thesis.

“It’s a clear abuse of the VP and the First Lady. The move is meant to raise questions about the authenticity of the First Lady’s academic achievements, yet the records are there to prove that she went through all the processes.’’

Amai Mugabe’s thesis is titled ‘‘The Changing Social Structure of the Family: The Case of Children’s Homes in Zimbabwe’’ obviously motivated by her philanthropic work countrywide and at the state-of-the-art orphanage and children’s home she built in Mazowe.

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  • Tarubva

    Cataloguing in the library is actually a non-event. The real deal is that a PhD thesis must produce at least three publications in peer-reviewed journals, with the student as first author. We await those publications from the First Lady with bated breath so that the fears of the academia across the country may be laid to rest. Without such scholarly publications from the First Lady, all UZ degrees run the risk of being labelled as BACCOSSIs, or even worse bearer cheques! The reputation of all of us with UZ qualifications is at stake people!

  • Chanabwa Mapindu

    stop whinging, her thesis publication should have taken priority given the high suspicion and moral panic her phd has caused, it shld be that simple, if its readily available wy not just put it in the shelves like mai mujururu’s one, thats wy tava kufunga kuti zvimwe some people are busy cooking it behind the scenes, manje phd kubika mazondo chaiko you cant just produce rubbish, we will scrutinise every bit to restore the credibility of our college.

    • melon

      do not be unfair to her

    • Makusakatara

      Chanabwa;

      If you are going to “scrutinise every bit”, as you purport to be able to do, why then ask for the publication to take priority? You seem to be the guru in all this; why not show us what happened?

      What we have been told here – which is official – is that it could take up to a year before the thesis becomes available on the library shelf. However, you are giving us the impression that the thesis should have been on the shelf before graduation.

      You can continue to believe your own stupidity that “some people are busy cooking it behind the scenes”, but the FACT will remain that Amai Dr Grace MUGABE is now a PhD degree holder and you are not.

      In any case why question only the unavailability of Amai Dr Grace MUGABE’s thesis when there are many others – who graduated with her – whose theses are still not on the UZ Library shelf? In fact the suspicion will soon turn on Amai Dr Joice MUJURU as to how hers is on the shelf less than a month after graduating.

      • David

        Yes it is in the library as evidence that it was actually done,raAmai harina kuitwa unless it is availed asap.

        • Makusakatara

          David;

          Why single out Amai Dr Grace MUGABE when there are thirteen others who graduated on the same day and whose theses are still not in the library?

    • David

      In this case she graduated 1st, then theses in that order, you talk of cart before the donkey.

  • wezhira wezheve

    Herald you have joined in the bandwagon of the offensive against the First Lady. What did this article achieve, besides raising more eyebrows? As a national newspaper, which national institution will not grant Herald an interview. If Ceaser Zvai calls the Vice Chancellor for an interview, do you honestly think the VC will refuse. If you want to defend the First lady as you want to purport, why not ask the simple questions now and get the simple answers now. When did she register? who were her supervisors, what other publications did she write, and where is her thesis? If you delay to more than a month, then people will be suspicious. So defend her now, or just keep quiet.

  • UZ Alumni!!!!

    “The move is meant to raise questions about the authenticity of the first lady’s academic achievements,yet the records are there to prove that she went through all the processes.” Please “staffer” in the “Great Library” publish or at least leak those records to The Herald, the paper really needs something tangible to report to make the issue go to rest. At least i have an MSc from an external university, ndaizonyarira pai. Please, the few graduates at Herald this issue is about your future, mine and even most journalists who went to local colleges and its not political because no one forced Grace to have a PHD, Tsvangirai haana kana degree wani, we will continue losing ground to those with foreign qualifications who are now being viewed by most employers as better qualified. Right now if anyone comes from outside the country looking for a job in print, electronic or broadcasting media they are mpst likely than not to be considered ahead of locally qualified candidates because of the negative perception we now hold towards local qualifications. I remember 10 years ago, candidates with South African qualifications would not compete local qualified candidates but today, surely the tide has really turned. When you interview candidates from SA and locals you are easily convinced by holders of external qualifications!!! WE CANNOT LET UZ GO TO THE DOGS FOR POLITICAL OR ANY OTHER EXPEDIENCY!!!!! IF UZ GOES DOWN, NUST, MSU, CHINHOYI THEY ALL GO DOWN!!!!

  • Jotham

    Why is it that only VP Mujuru’s article is the one that is being paraded and the Other 11 graduands still missing. If one looks at the time frame for the process to be completed – Why is there a barrage of publicity stunts to tarnish Grace Mugabe. Europeans and their stooges are a shame.

    • Gary WekuZviyambe

      Are you saying the UZ is a stooge of Europeans? Dzimwe propaganda nyaraiwo kani!

  • Zvakaoma

    I THINK THE HERALD SHOULD BE BUSY TELLING THE NATION ON WHICH MASTERS DEGREE LED THE FIRST LADY TO PURSUE HER DOCTORATE DEGREE. MUSATI HATIVONI VAKOMANA. MWARI WEKUDENGA ANOZIVA. IF THE VICE PRESIDENT HAS FINE TUNED HER THESIS FOR PUBLICATION WHAT’S WRONG ON FINDING IT IN THE LIBRARY? DON’T FIGHT FOR THE SAKE OF FIGHTING.

  • Manyika

    Just fast-track the publication of the thesis (if it is available) to allay people’s suspicions . . . as has happened to the VP’s dissertation.

    • leemoyo

      so true,

  • Dzapiringana Chimhini Haipo

    Show us the bound dissertation and the CD….Show it on TV …we need the credibility of our University back… This reminds me of 2008 election results…”meticulous process”

  • musa

    zimpapers and your faceless commentators. you are just like zbc, but then again you have the same master and you have to please your masters. if gire’s phd is above aboard UZ would have come out in the open a long time ago with her date of registration, supervisor, assessor, external assessor and so forth, just to defend UZ’s reputation. but because there is nothing there are silent. so you have taken it upon yourselves to defend the indefensible. kkkkkk we watch.

  • Prof Mlambo

    The writer is obviously diverting attention. The PhD is not bogus because of the non-availability of the thesis. The most important allegations are that (i) the first lady did not have the minimum entry requirements for Phd, (ii) did not complete a minimum study time of 3-6 years, (iii) did not publish any journal article, and (iv) lastly, there is no proof of competence (thesis). My suggestion to the writer is that, please try to answer the first three allegations before you focus on the last one. People are looking for the thesis because there has been doubt, so if you want to remove doubt do your research and tell us when she was registered, etc.

  • Njuzu

    We want the thesis fast tracked to the library even if the whole of the UZ working on indexing and cataloguing it.

    • leemoyo

      u are right and thesis iyi inoita mari on public auctions. thats an antic- all universities even Harvard will need a copy.

  • Zim1

    Majerasi

  • observer

    Just publish ” the records”, supervisors, timeframe and the thesis itself, why all this delay. If proof is to be provided later it will again raise more doubts because it looks like this delay is deliberate & someone is busy cooking the much demanded “thesis”. Sometimes i wonder kuti are people not ashamed of so desperately trying to be what they are not. Honestly if you feel a particular post requires a PhD & you dont have the intellectual capacity to acquire it then it means even cooking the “PhD” will not capacitate you with the ability to do the job. Nhai vakoma haisi “common sense” here iyi?

  • Makusakatara

    Punungwe;

    Go to the UZ and ask for this information. The UZ admits a study on the basis of prerequisites and if what you stated are the prerequisites, why not go to the UZ and ask them how they admitted the First Lady for a PhD? It is the prerequisites that are important for you to understand and you can only get them from the UZ.

    • Common Sense

      You’re missing the point… if the Herald did it’s job properly it would have done three things:-

      1. Given the background of the BSc and Masters, with timelines
      2. Given the start/finish times of the PhD and actually spoken to some of her lecturers and main supervising professor to validate
      3. Gotten a copy of the Thesis

      The facts we see are… none; hence the speculation that the PhD is in fact not earned and a Thesis does not exist, this was an honorary doctorate

      • Sam

        The Herald cannot and will not investigate the First family, despite claims to the contrary. Amai Dr’s PhD in reality is an honorary one, we all know this. As Mukwerekwere said, everything begins and ends with the UZ. Perhaps she will be offered another PhD, this time for some other achievement.Truth be told, this story will die a natural death, but its good that people are talking.

    • mukwerekwere

      Think man think! You are failing to think!

      • Makusakatara

        Mukwe;

        Ungafunga kudarika ini iwe?? UZ is the only source of this information and if you go there you will get everything you want.

        All your questions will be answered including those you have not thought about.

        Amai Dr Grace MUGABE vakadzidza shamwari. Let’s give credit where it is due!!

  • Public Odigo

    Aiwa Herald, nyaya iripo ndeyekuti ma regulations governing the completion of Masters and Doctoral dissertations arimo muUniversity Charter and they are very clear. Instead of your reporter quoting an anonymous senior academic etc telling stories about archiving in the library, they should simply quote the relevant sections of the charter (which is a public document anyway). Saka sezvakanyorwa mucharter, nyaya irikunetsa vanhu yakamira yakadai:
    1. registration for PhD yakaitwa rinhi – apa panmoda kuonekwa proposal yacho nedecision yeFHDC (Faculty Higher Degrees Committee) yekuti munhu ngaatange research, uye ichi confirmer supervisor kuti ndiani
    2. Report ya Supervisor ku FHDC kuti thesis yanyorwa and yave ready for examination
    3. Minute ye FHDC ichi appointer External Examiner we thesis yacho, uye report ya external examiner
    4. Minute ye FHDC ichi appointer examining board for the oral defence ye dissertation
    5. Report ye Oral defence yacho
    (Note the activities 2-5 can take more than 1 year, including ma revisions ne bureaucracy)
    6. After thesis was revised, it is supposed to be bound (3 copies) + CD and submitted to the FHDC (not to the Library). One copy is then lodged with the Library, one with the department, and one with the supervisor. Kana FHDC isati yaendesa copy yaMai Mugabe kuLibrary, then no problem, higher degrees committee ye Social Studies inofanira kunge inayo. Alternatively department of Sociology, na Supervisor wacho should have a copy. Or better still, muzvina degree should proudly present her dissertation to the Herald (and the nation). If it was my PhD I would happily ask for it to be serialized in the Herald and be prepared to defend my ideas. That’s what distinguishes a PhD from a masters – unenge wave nyanzvi in your subject and no one can challenge you (muZim and globally), saka kutyei???!!!

    • Farai

      This seems a good contribution from the little bit I got. Public Odigo I wish you had written everything in English for the benefit of all readers even those who do not know shona, after all the main news item is all in English and even the regulation you quote are in English!

    • Tarubva

      You are spot on my pal. You could have expressed it in English, as Farai has already suggested, for the benefit of international audience. Otherwise yours is a great contribution.

  • MemaZimbo

    Saka vachizoendesa zvavo vana vavo kunze kunotorera madhigiri ikoko. Heya yatova mhosva kuwana dhigiri kana uri mudzimai waPresident? Mose imi zvamakatora enyu madhigiri takambo taura nezvazvo? Munoreva here kuti Mai Mugabe havana njere sedzenyu? Tinyararirei apo. Chatinoziva ndechekuti Mai vedu vava kunzi Dhokotera. Ndezvenyu izvo.

    • rukudzo

      You have a point. I had not thought of this one.

  • mwanawevhu

    Please hands off our education. Hamunyare here

  • mwanawevhu

    This article is a waste of time. It doesn’t answer any of the questions raised .When did Mrs Mugabe register for the degree and who was the supervisor. Also why are they not showing us her reseach considering the controversy the whole thing is causing. Something seems fishy which is always the case with Zanu PF

  • mwanawevhu

    Point a finger and the other four will be pointing at you. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask Mrs Mugabe to account herself.I believe Mrs Mugabe appreciates the public concerns

    • rukudzo

      Iwe hama, Its Dr Mugabe.

  • Njube

    Kuti mugutsikane munotoda kutanga mawona ra ZUMA President of South Afrika ndokuti mubvume kuti maPresident nemadziMai avo vano tora. Makorokoto First Lady yenderera mberi.

  • Tafara

    When the Tea Party in America had doubts and later insisted that President Obama was not born in America and therefore not an American the White House simply put his Hawaian Birth Certificates on line for every one to see. That was the end of the story. The Tea Party recoiled in shame and embarrassment. The same has to apply here to silence any lingering doubt about the First Lady`s PHD degree. Publish her first degree which is in Chinese Language, then her Master`s degree, then the date she enrolled for her PHD degree and make available her thesis on line and hard copies in the University Library. Why cant we also have the University authorities shouting loud and clear that all procedures were followed in awarding her this degree. No matter how much you write in her defence without proof most people will always doubt and Ah!! my degree from UZ is steadily being devalued, What a shame.

  • Cde Jairos Tapfuma

    The Herald is sinking into party politics faster than before. The Herald is a NATIONAL paper just like ZBC, just like the Zimbabwe National Army, just the Police etc. It is not the first time people have questioned or expressed interest in Mai Mugabe’s academic achievements. yes, she is a public figure by virtue of being First lady, but she also has her privacy. Is she bound to make known every move she makes like she is the President himself? Why have people not questioned President Mugabe’s several degrees and tend to dwell more on mai Mugabe’s? Whether she has one or not, is it really an issue? To the UZ you will say it’s an issue, but do you really think the institution is not aware of the consequences of not following certain procedures?

    It’s not the first time people have leveled serious allegations against the first family. One other publication wrote falsely that the couple had had a secret wedding only for the first family to hold a very public wedding at their home village much to the humiliation of that publication. We could be going the same route here. I foresee libel suits very soon. For the Media—be very careful.

    And then to the revolutionary party, we have done enough damage to ourselves please. Why keep sinking this low every day using the newspapers to pursue issues that are not of national interest? Whether Mai Mugabe has a degree or not will not revitalise our economy. To bring in to disrepute the name of the VP is more damage to the party. She is the second secretary of Zanu-PF. So what are we really trying to do????

  • mhofu

    I have only one question for you, why dont they just post the First Lady’s thesis so they can put a stop to these malicious accusations?

  • leo

    im very intrigued with the views and opinions here zvekuti i ran out of comments.but my conclusion is ths is a very controversial and delicate issue wc should be treated with utmost vigilance lest pane munhu/vanhu who will regret/be brought to shame sooner or later

  • Just Askin’

    Senior academics were willing to shed light albeit anonymously,
    saying to get a PhD at UZ one goes through a number of stages in a long
    process.

    “The first stage is an exploratory one where the person who wants to
    study meets informally with the relevant authorities of the university
    to discuss whether the topic which the student wants to explore is
    researchable and whether the university has competent professors to
    supervise the thesis,” said a professor from UZ said.

    “The student then has to apply to the Post-Graduate Office, which
    will send the application to the relevant faculty, for example Social
    Studies in Grace’s case. The student is required to submit an
    application, together with a CV and a transcript of the previous degree
    studies.

    “The faculty then submits the application to the relevant department.
    The chairperson of that department sends the application to the
    Post-Graduate Committee (PGC).”

    The professor added: “Upon receiving the application, the PGC
    convenes a meeting to consider the suitability of the applicant to see
    whether the person has the appropriate academic qualifications; the
    research topic is workable and if there is a competent supervisor. A
    provisional or associate supervisor is then provided.

    “After further consideration, it goes back to the PGC which then
    writes to the applicant informing him or her whether the application was
    successful after which the applicant can register and come up with a
    full formal proposal.

    “The applicant is given six months to do the proposal. Many fail to
    produce it within that period and ask for an extension of up to three
    months. If they fail after the extension they are automatically out.”

    Sources say Grace did not follow all these procedures as her records are not there.

    In terms of UZ requirements, for an MPhil, the candidate must have a
    good pass in an honours degree with at least an upper second class (2.1)
    or an approved equivalent and the minimum duration of study is two
    years for a full-time student and three years for a part-time student.

    A DPhil candidate requires a good master’s degree. An MPhil student
    who excels can however have his or her studies upgraded to DPhil. This
    only happens in exceptional circumstances where the student is
    distinguished.

    Even then the minimum for a DPhil full-time student is three years
    and four years for part-time studies. Senior academics at the UZ said
    Grace did not meet the requirements, while she also did not spend the
    basic minimum time studying at UZ, making her acquisition of the PhD
    unprocedural.

    “The academic committee and supervisor must explain Grace’s
    situation. For it is the committee which vets and supervisor who tells
    the student that their thesis is ready for exams. The department
    recommends examiners, who include experts from the faculty concerned.
    There are usually one or two internal examiners and one or two external
    examiners depending on the thesis. Two out of them must agree that the
    thesis is solid and worthwhile,” said the professor.

    Reported elsewhere… The question arises has Grace Mugabe followed these procedures?/strong>

  • James Bond

    Joice Mujuru is a diligent student who worked studiously, submitted her work on time and used her immense resources to produce properly bound copies for the library. Why do I get the feeling that she is being persecuted for doing the right thing? As a politician she knew eyebrows would be raised, so she moved to staunch whatever aspersions people were bound to cast in her direction by releasing it online.

  • Dzapiringana Chimhini Haipo

    Because you are a Mkoba College or Kushinga Phikelela graduate you don’t care about the credibility of UZ….we do …because we want the reputation of our degrees to remain intact…

  • mukwerekwere

    Tell them!

  • Sunu

    Ahhh ko iko they fail to at least give us a tid bit of what her thesis was based on???

  • Sam

    So you honestly think the VP herself actually studied for a PhD and a Masters too? Does she come across as someone who has studied for those degrees she is credited with?