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in Mashonaland East and Dotito Irrigation Scheme in Mashonaland Central Province’’ is on the library shelf and has been archived.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.