Vice President Dr Joice Mujuru's thesis for her recently-attained doctorate from the University of Zimbabwe is not available on the university library's shelves, despite being indicated on the search computer facility.

A physical check at the institution's Special Collections library indicates that while the title is available the copy is conspicuously missing. Observers said yesterday that the entry of the thesis title for Dr Mujuru's thesis was meant to cast aspersions over the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe's doctoral thesis which like the other 10 theses for fellow graduands, may only be available on the shelves after a year.

Despite the fact that 12 people graduated with doctorate degrees on September 12, sustained focus has been on Amai Mugabe's PhD.

A librarian at the Special Collections section, which houses doctoral theses, said the document, "A Strategic Explanatory Entrepreneurship Study of Sustainable Agricultural Business: Case Studies of Mitchel and Mitchel in Mashonaland East and Dotito Irrigation Scheme in Mashonaland Central Province", was unavailable despite being indicated on the search computer facility. He could not explain why the thesis was being mysteriously advertised.

"It is not available because it is being printed; it will be available soon," he said, without elaborating.

Attempts to get a comment from UZ Vice Chancellor Prof Levy Nyagura were fruitless. A senior academic at the university yesterday said the misrepresentation showed a "hidden agenda" meant to discredit the First Lady. The academic said: "If a DPhil thesis is showing on library records that it is available in the library when in actual fact it is not; this means that there was a hidden agenda by the person(s) who displayed such false information.

"By merely indicating that Dr J T R Mujuru's thesis was available in the library, this led to Dr Grace Mugabe's academic image being questioned since hers was not yet available in the library, yet it is normal expectation that a DPhil takes a long time to eventually be available in the library. When a librarian says that the DPhil thesis is not yet available in the library, it is being printed, this is also misleading scholars and researchers, because the thesis is always printed by the student and not the library, before graduation.

"The printed thesis is then processed internally until it finally gets into the library where its life on the shelves is also not automatic, since it is indexed and catalogued before being placed on the shelf and being made available for borrowing by members of the University's library." The academic called for an urgent corrective measure by the University of Zimbabwe. This anomaly, which is misleading scholars and researchers, must be corrected to avoid unnecessary damage to the First Lady, Dr Grace Mugabe and the rest of the DPhil graduates," said the senior academic.

Some sections of the media have been on a campaign to discredit Amai Mugabe's attainment of the Doctor of Philosophies degree, whose thesis is titled, "The Changing Social Structure of the Family: The Case of Children's Homes in Zimbabwe".

This week, Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, who is also a leading academic and assessor at the UZ, Professor Jonathan Moyo, noted that the mudslinging was political and malicious.

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