Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Reporter
University of Zimbabwe (UZ) Vice Chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura has been suspended pending finalisation of a case against him on alleged abuse of office.
In a statement last night, UZ registrar, Dr Noah Mutongoreni, said Professor Paul Mapfumo will be acting vice chancellor.
“His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe, Cde ED Mnangagwa, being the appointing authority in terms of section 8 of the University of Zimbabwe Act, (Chapter 25:16), has sent the Vice Chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe, Professor Levi Nyagura on leave pending the finalisation of his alleged charges of criminal abuse of Office.
“Meanwhile, Professor Paul Mapfumo has been appointed acting Vice Chancellor in accordance with Section 8 of the University of Zimbabwe Act (Chapter 25:16). The appointment is with immediate effect.”
Prof Nyagura is facing allegations of facilitating the conferment of a Doctor of Philosophy degree on former First Lady Mrs Grace Mugabe.
It is alleged that sometime in 2011, Prof Nyagura single-handedly approved Mrs Mugabe’s application to study a PHD in Sociology without the knowledge of the faculty and department concerned.
Prof Nyagura then allegedly appointed Prof Claude Mararike to supervise Mrs Mugabe’s thesis without the board’s approval.
Furthermore, Prof Nyagura allegedly usurped powers and appointed examiners in violation of the University of Zimbabwe Act (Chapter 25: 16) and Ordinances 1998-99 volume 11, which gives that mandate to the Senate committee.
Sometime in 2014, Prof Nyagura reportedly led supervisors and examiners to Mrs Mugabe’s Mazowe Estate where she purportedly defended her thesis, again without the knowledge and approval of the academic committee.
Earlier this year, 10 lecturers from the department of Sociology challenged Prof Nyagura to revoke and nullify Mrs Mugabe’s doctorate arguing that it was awarded unprocedurally.
Although Prof Nyagura insisted that Mrs Mugabe’s PhD was awarded above board, he was then arrested later in the year after an investigation by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.
His trial is scheduled to resume next month.