The University of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura has been picked up by for questioning by the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (ZACC) investigators.
Allegations against Professor Nyagura are that he unlawfully recommended the conferment of a Doctor of Philosophy Degree to grace Ntombizodwa Marufu Mugabe without the approval of the University council and the Senate Committee.
Earlier in the year, 10 lecturers from the department of sociology challenged Professor Nyagura to revoke and nullify Mrs Mugabe’s doctorate arguing that it was awarded unprocedurally. Supervised by Professor Claude Mararike, Mrs Mugabe graduated with the Doctor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Social Studies in September 2014.
Through their lawyer Ms Fiona Iliff from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, the lecturers said they were shocked to hear that Mrs Mugabe had been awarded a doctorate from their department when they never saw her application, acceptance letter, supervision and even awarding of the degree.
“The Sociology Department Board has never approved anything in respect of the candidate’s research or thesis. The members of the Sociology Department Board were shocked at the news that the candidate was awarded the degree by the Sociology Department.
“All the requisite procedures were not followed in toto, and there was complete disregard of university rules, processes and procedures,” said the lectures in their letter of concern dated January 29 2018 to the University’s Vice Chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura.
The 10 lecturers are: Prof Rudo Gaidzanwa, Drs Sandra Bhatasara, Julius Musevenzi, Fenton Ruparanganda, Gutsa, Mandizadza, Sadomba, Mate and Messrs Nelson Muparamoto and T Chevo.
The lecturers further alleged that as at January 8 2018, Mrs Mugabe’s thesis was not in the university library.
“All things considered, the awarding of the degree under such circumstances was unethical, unprofessional, and unprocedural, as the quality of the final product was not controlled by qualified professionals if at all any research was conducted to warrant conferment of such a degree. The awarding of the degree constitutes academic corruption and criminal abuse of office in terms of section 174 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23) on the part of anyone implicated in awarding the degree at the University.”
Last week Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira urging dialogue between the University of Zimbabwe and its lecturers who are contesting the awarding of the doctorate to the former First Lady.
However, Professor Levi Nyagura hit back at lecturers in the department of sociology for challenging the awarding of a doctorate to former First Lady Grace Mugabe claiming they were “ignorant Messrs and doctors” with no academic capacity to supervise a PhD student.