Nyagura explodes over Grace’s PhD scandal


UNIVERSITY of Zimbabwe (UZ) Vice-chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura was outraged and exploded yesterday when asked to explain how President Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace, got her controversial PhD as the academic scandal engulfing the first lady refuses to go away.

Elias Mambo

“Are you (the Zimbabwe Independent) a university? So why do you want to know the details of this particular student’s performance?” Nyagura erupted when asked to explain the contentious issue.

“How many students graduated with PhDs?”

After being told there were 13 students who graduated with PhDs, including Grace, he asked: “So why would you want to know results of this particular student only?”

Further told that how Grace got her doctorate was not only interesting to the public but also an important issue of public interest, Nyagura — who chaired the UZ’s 15-member academic member committee that awarded Grace the doctorate — became even more agitated, saying: “Why would the public want to know all this? Do they know how universities are run? The public is ignorant of how universities are run and this issue has nothing to do with them anyway.”

After the outburst, he fired his parting shot: “I am not going to respond to any of your questions, thank you!”

For the past three weeks authorities at the UZ have avoided answering questions regarding Grace’s doctorate degree and when Nyagura was finally available yesterday he refused to shed any light, only radiating more heat around the issue.

The Independent has failed so far to speak to other UZ leaders and officials, including spokesperson Dennis Rwafa, registrar Sergeant Chevo, officers in charge of student records and acting Dean of the Faculty of Social Studies Tichaendepi Masaya.

Efforts to speak to University Council chairperson Washington Mbizvo and UZ senate officials have also failed.

Last week senior academics shed light on the matter, albeit anonymously, saying to get a PhD at UZ one goes through a long rigorous 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.

“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. If you make it, then you follow other long procedures until the end of the process.”

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 essential requirements, while she also did not spend the basic minimum time studying there, making her acquisition of the PhD unprocedural.

10 thoughts on “Nyagura explodes over Grace’s PhD scandal”

  1. ndoda sibili says:

    ko imi ve zim ind munodeivo shut up

    1. Chabwino says:

      Listening to the level of arrogance displayed hear I am left with no other explanation for the cause of the economic ills this nation is facing. Imagine , will such kind of a character be open to advice and indeed critisicm being a senior executive for a pro gvt institution. As long as we view the people in Rimuka or Epworth as senekles idiots whose role is to accept whatever is thrown at them then we have a problem. I think ‘Chigure’ is a proponent of the system that will entitle ruarl voters with a quarter vote on the assumption they know little regarding economic affairs

  2. Wamambo Varidzi VeMasvingo says:

    We dont care how universities are run but we give a damn when fake degrees are awarded..

  3. Temba Kajukwana says:

    So the fact that Grace’s PhD is a fake is real, why would Nyagura not provide the public with answers. He needs to resign

  4. Retired Brigader says:

    Dear Prof Levy. Yes it MAY be true the public may be ignorant about how universities are run. But among the questioning public, are University professors who have run universities some better than UZ and who have supervised PhDs. They know how the process goes. So do not be angry answer the question. At evry opportunity grace invites everyone to see her childrens’ home initiative in mazowe and explain progress [or lack of it]. Why is she no just opening up on this to rest the matter? Lastly Mr Nyagura please help by shedding light on this. Again the public knows how degrees are awarded!!! certainly not as hand outs!!

  5. chitoporo says:

    The heat is too much for this Good for nothing Nyagura. He has been running the UZ for 20 years now. Its obvious he gave Grace a PHD as a thank you to Robert mugabe for keeping him on the job.

    So because the public is ignorant regarding how universities are run, you decided to take advantage of that by dishing a BOGUS PHd to a Grade seven drop out?

  6. Herrie says:

    If you can print money, why not degree certificates? I think this colonialist habit introduced by the British of granting doctorates to a small elite is counterrevolutionary. Every Zimbabwean should have (1) the right to vote for ZUNU-PF, (2) own a farm, and (3) have a PhD degree.

  7. chief says:

    nyagura shld b ashamed of himself. if the public does not have any idea on hw universities are run , does it follow that u Mr nyagura must not explain to them hw that BOGUS PhD was awarded to Grace? tru that u gave that degree to Grace who doesn’t v even a grade 7 certificate as a thank u to the aged president fo allowing u to overstay yo tenure at the helm of a once prestigious college yawauraya iwe white head koz of incompetence dzako

  8. Ndungu says:

    It has not been proved that Mai Mugabe’s PHD is fake, so what is scandalous about the issue. The fact that the so called indep press reports this issue as scandalous does not in any way make it scandalous.. So the headline is misleading.

  9. kudzidza kunorwadza says:

    Nyagura, i think you are misinformed if you think we don’t know how universities are run. We have gone through the process of acquiring degrees from various universities and we know all the procedures to attain one. As former candidate for similar programmes i think UZ made a mistake to enroll someone without a masters for PHD it was revealed a few yes that Grace Mugabe graduated from a Chinese University for undergraduate degree in Chinese language then suddenly she graduate for PHD. Kudzidza kunowadza vaNyagura vamwe tinopedza mwaka yakatikuti kuti tiite these degrees going through a rigorous process with supervisors for our thesis, to precise up to 10yrs to acquire a PHD. Saka Levy vakakoniva if its all transparent i think you should feel good to explain it to Zimbabweans how she got it. do not

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