Grace PhD fraud: Interview sheds light

Information showing President Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace — who was last month controversially conferred a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) qualification — finished her undergraduate degree in 2011 and had not registered for a PhD by June 2012 all but confirms she was irregularly awarded the doctorate by the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) recently.

Owen Gagare

In an interview which Grace had with the state-controlled Sunday Mail in June 2012, the First Lady revealed she had enrolled to study the Chinese language (Mandarin) with the People’s (Renmin) University of China in 2007 on a four-year programme, which means she completed her degree in 2011.

She admitted that even after finishing the degree she was not proficient in Chinese.

Supposing she actually studied for her doctorate soon after the interview, it would mean that Grace completed her studies in one-and-half years given that it takes up to six months to do a proposal for a PhD.

In terms of UZ requirements, a Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) candidate requires a good master’s degree, which Grace does not have. A Master of Philosophy (MPhil) student who excels can, however, have his or her studies upgraded to a PhD. But this only happens in exceptional circumstances where the student is distinguished.

Even then, the minimum study period for a DPhil full-time student is three years — four years for part-time studies.

If Grace had registered in 2013 as a part-time student, she should have at least finished her PhD in 2017.

In the interview, Grace revealed she had been travelling to and from China on a regular basis before doing her studies locally when she learnt of the Confucius Institute at UZ.

The Chinese embassy assisted in her studies by providing professors to teach her daily.

“I enrolled at the People’s University of China. It was just the Chinese language I wanted to study because I wanted to understand the Chinese people. I have a lot of respect for them. They are hard workers and big achievers,” she said in the interview published in the Sunday Mail on June 10, 2012, after being asked if she was studying.

“I had the opportunity to visit China before it was as developed as it is today. I felt the only way to understand them was to learn their culture, traditions, history and geography, among other aspects. I appreciate the opportunity I got. I enrolled in 2007 for a four-year stint, of course.”

Grace, who spoke glowingly of the Chinese, said the decision to study Mandarin was good because everyone was looking East.
She said her husband was a visionary as he was the “first person” to speak about the Look East policy.

“Even those in the Western world who were looking down on China are now looking up to them in terms of development. I said to myself I must be well-versed with the issues that are taking place there if this is what is happening in that part of the world. I have gained a lot from interacting with the Chinese,” she said, before revealing that the Chinese friends she made while studying in the Asian country assisted in building her Mazowe orphanage.

Grace also said she would spend up to two months studying in China before she started studying locally.

“I would attend school and then come back here. But, later, I took advantage of the Confucius College (Institute) that was established here. I arranged with the Chinese Embassy and they would send some professors to teach me every day,” she said. “It was very difficult, quite exacting for me because the Chinese language is a very difficult language to learn, moreso for an adult like me; an old woman like me having to learn a language from scratch. It was not easy, but, I suppose, I have a passion for languages.”

According to information on the UZ website, the Confucius Institute was integrated into the university’s academic structures and has provided the bridge for the establishment of linkages and exchange between the UZ and Chinese universities.

The UZ has been offering Chinese Language and Cultural Studies at a Bachelor of Arts degree level since 2007.

Grace said in the interview that Mugabe believes she is fluent in Chinese although she says she is not fluent, but can communicate.
“I do not need an interpreter. I can read of course, but some of the characters I cannot identify. Unlike in Shona or English where we use an alphabet with fewer letters, each Chinese word is represented by a character,” she said.

“So, you have to know four, five, six, eight thousand characters.
They expect you to be able to identify four to five thousand characters by the time you graduate. This, I can do: writing is difficult. It requires someone with the passion for studying the language.”

Grace said she studied under a lot of pressure as she had to make the sacrifice of leaving her children and husband in Zimbabwe while studying in China. She said her orphanage was also built while she was studying, hence she had to study while also ensuring that work was done at the orphanage.

“However, I must say, it was worthwhile to study the language and mingle with the Chinese, get ideas from them,” she said.

There has been confusion on when Grace did her first degree while there were also question marks on whether she had a master’s degree. But given the short timeframe between the time she completed her first degree and the time she received her doctorate, it becomes clear her sociology PhD is practically a fraud.

It is now beyond doubt Grace was conferred the doctorate without following the required academic procedures. A number of academics on the 15-member academic committee, which awards PhDs and other degrees, have confirmed to the Independent in a series of interviews the committee never met over her controversial PhD, which makes it fraudulent and thus a nullity.

19 thoughts on “Grace PhD fraud: Interview sheds light”

  1. Kilimanjaro says:

    if she finished her first degree in 2011 lets assume she enrolled for a masters the in 2012 August. a typical masters can take 2 years so meaning she finished her masters in August 2014, lets assume that they saw that her masters was brilliant and they upgraded it to a phd, so its much ado about nothing. the issue here is, is her masters thesis deserving to be upgraded to a phd. thats up to the discretion of the awarding institution which in this case is UZ.

  2. Thoman says:

    if she finished her first degree in 2011 lets assume she enrolled for a masters the in 2012 August. a typical masters can take 2 years so meaning she finished her masters in August 2014, lets assume that they saw that her masters was brilliant and they upgraded it to a phd, so its much ado about nothing. the issue here is, is her masters thesis deserving to be upgraded to a phd. thats up to the discretion of the awarding institution which in this case is UZ.

  3. chatunga says:

    Just convert the Doctorate to a Honorary please and at least we can save the UZ’s integrity.

  4. Ana boys says:

    Zvichapera chete when the Time is nigh

  5. CHINYARIDE says:

    The political definition of PhD is Permanent Damage Head!

    1. Tico says:

      Or is it Permanent head Damage!

  6. Dr Gongomwanawechirombo says:

    There is no doubt that the conferrment of the PhD to Grace Mugabe was a massive fraud.The whole thing was a bogus act & a charade that was orchestrated by the so called Chancellor Ngwazi Matibili who happens to be Grace`s hubby ,Vice Chancellor Levi Nyagura who isnt a fully fledged Professor,Zanuiod functionaries at UZ like Claude Mararike,Vimbai Chavaura&Charity Manyeruke.Everyone knows that Grace simply doesnt possess the intellectual capacity to complete a PhD Thesis having dismally failed undergraduate studies with the University of London.Progressive Zimboz must steadfastly oppose the Matibili/Mugabe dynastanisation.For the past 34 years Mugabe has successfully tried to control every facet of Zimbabwean life.Matibili has been been presiding over the most corrupt,brutal Cabal in Zim living history.Infact both Mugabe &Grace are evil&corrupt to the bonemarrow.Mugabe has been allowed to treat Zim like his fiefdom for the last 34 years thanks to sheepish,docile Zimboz.It is certainly hightime Matibili steps down from the Chancellorship of all State Varsities,it is also time 4 Levi Nyagura to step down as VC ,he has served more than two terms since 2002 since he was appointed by the then Higher Education Minister Corruption Chombo.Lest we forget that it was Mugabe who NIGERIANISED the once prestigious UZ by forcing through the registration of a fellow massmurderer Mengistu Haile Merium`s children into the UZ Medical School without the adequate entry points.Mugabe also went on to force through the registration of his crony Mushowe into the Masters Programme after the late Professor John Makumbe had marked Mushowe down.The UZ has witnessed massive hypercorruption & brutality under the watch of Mugabe&Nyagura &Academical freedom has also been seriously eroded too.Indeed the once prestigious UZ has gone to the dogs,infact condemned to the abyss&doldrums such that the esteemed Profeesors like the late Professor Kamba,Makumbe&Dr Kempton Makamure must be turning in their graves with anger with the amount of corruption at UZ.Shame on the UZ Chancellor,VC,UZ Senate,Mararike,Manyeruke,Chivaura,Jonathan Moyo 4 conferring Grace Mugabe with a bogus,fraudulent PhD.The charade doesnt surprise the progressive people of ZIM after all Mugabe has bben violently&fraudulently clinging to Power since 1990 thus subverting the will& wishes of the majority of Zimbabweans.

  7. Wezhira Wezhara says:

    She finished her Chinese degree in 2010…How does reporter know she was not registered for her PhD at the time of the interview in 2012????? More speculation mean to try to undermine First Lady and prop up VP

    1. Chen Chikezha says:

      She enrolled in 2007 for a 4 year degree, how do you then complete in 2010? Don’t defend the indefensible…..

      1. Wezhira Wezhara says:

        2007,8,9,10….how many years is that???

    2. Central Scrutiniser says:

      She should just publish her thesis – after all its a superhuman achievement! But I doubt there’s any thesis, any research at all. She’s just an empty headed spendthrift.

  8. tongesai says:

    Musatambe nePhD.Handinyore kuiita.Dai makati iHonourary taizvinzwa

  9. tongesai says:

    Easier said than done

  10. Greg says:

    if Grace finished her Chinese degree in degree in 2011 and started on her Masters which can take 2 years she would have finished in 2013 or 2014. Now UZ have a policy that if your masters thesis is brilliant they can upgrade it to a PHD. so based on these facts there is a possibility that the PHD is legit.

    1. Wezhira Wezhara says:

      Thank u but vanhu havadi to look at the facts just bcoz Grace haana kutaura kuti I am doing a PhD

    2. Wezhira Wezhara says:

      Chinese degree she finished in 2010 by the way…even in the interview she says she was happy she finished before Bona who graduated in 2011

  11. mukwerekwere says:

    Vana Wezhira,

    It’s a requirement by post grad students to submit bound copies of theses upon completion….in this modern age, a digital copy as well……this is the same at any university worth it’s salt the world over. So as soon as a student passes, the thesis is made available, again immediately, in the library. Never mind that Grace was thrown out of a course because she flunked so badly…and her ‘meteoric rise from the ashes’ in a very short period to gain a PhD. It’s a very simple matte to put to rest, the thesis must be produced and scrutinised by peers in the field. As it stands, the suspicion is justified …much like the election results last year…where to this day, we have still not seen the voters roll. The biggest tragedy is to all those genuine hard working alumni, whose degrees are now tainted by yet another selfish act by these Mugabes.

  12. John Kevin says:

    Grace is going to be an important person in zimbabwes politics very soon
    either as womens league president with a lot of influence and power or as kingmaker

    1. Buffalojump says:

      John, you are correct. In fact she is already an important person. She is now solidifying her base with the help of the President and his power brokers.

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