The University of Zimbabwe's Vice Chancellor, Professor Levi Nyagura, has been picked up for questioning by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) investigators for allegedly awarding a doctorate degree to former First Lady Grace Mugabe in a fraudulent manner.
ZACC commissioner Goodson Nguni confirmed to VOA Studio 7 that Professor Nyagura had been picked up by the police.
Political analysts and ZACC sources told Studio 7 that Mrs. Mugabe is now facing imminent arrest.
Supervised by Professor Claude Mararike, Mrs. Mugabe graduated with the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in the Faculty of Social Studies in September 2014. Mararike is also facing arrest with ZACC indicating that it will swoop on him soon.
Allegations against Professor Nyagura, in a charge sheet in VOA’s Studio 7’s possession, are that he unlawfully recommended the conferment of a Doctor of Philosophy Degree to Mrs. Mugabe without the approval of the University Council and the Senate Committee. The alleged crime is criminal abuse of office.
Ten UZ lecturers from the Sociology Department had written to ZACC and Professor Nyagura demanding that Mrs. Mugabe’s degree be revoked. But Nyagura, in an interview with the Herald, had dismissed the lecturers' claim saying they were “ignorant Messrs and doctors” with no academic capacity to supervise a PhD student.
Prof Nyagura said PhD students were supervised by the post-graduate centre and not a teaching department.
The vice chancellor had vowed that the UZ was ready to defend its position should the lecturers consider taking a legal route. Earlier in the year, 10 lecturers from the Department of Sociology challenged Prof. Nyagura to revoke 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.
The 10 lecturers who are protesting are: Prof Rudo Gaidzanwa, Drs. Sandra Bhatasara, Julius Musevenzi, Watch Ruparanganda, Gutsa, Mandizadza, Sadomba, Mate and Messrs Nelson Muparamoto and T. Chevo. The lecturers further alleged that Mrs. Mugabe's thesis took 4 years to producein contravention of its normal practice.
The 226-page thesis, entitled "The changing social structure and functions of the family: The case of children's homes in Zimbabwe, was released last month.
“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.”
The lecturers also alleged that Professor Mararike was appointed without their consultation as stipulated in the University of Zimbabwe ordinance regulations.
“Your appointment of Professor C. Mararike was in breach of sections 4.2 and 4.7 of ordinance number 25 of the University of Zimbabwe, in that no consultation with members of the Sociology department board was ever done,” alleged the lecturers.
Nyagura took over from Graham Hill as the UZ vice-chancellor following recommendations made to President Mugabe by the University of Zimbabwe Council. He was selected ahead of then Midlands State University vice-chancellor, Ngwabi Bhebhe, and UZ lecturer and politician, Professor Heneri Dzinotyiwe.