Baptism of fire as Grace Mugabe's PhD saga gets serious

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There is now baptism of fire at University of Zimbabwe as Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) has opened investigations into former First Lady Grace Mugabe’s supervisor, Professor Claude Mararike, with a view to check if he possessed the requisite qualifications for the job.

Mararike supervised Grace’s controversial PHD degree at the University of Zimbabwe, culminating in her graduation in 2014.

The latest probe into Mararike comes amid reports that he did not have a doctorate and, therefore, could not have supervised a student pursuing a higher qualification than one which he holds.

Information submitted before the High Court by Zacc has put in question the qualifications held by Mararike, for a long time the chairperson of the department of sociology until recently.

Zacc has demanded that Mararike produce all his qualifications because doubts have been raised, with his fellow workmates saying he did not hold a doctorate.

Zacc wants the documents which include the first degree, second degree, doctorate degree of Grace Mugabe’s supervisors and certified copies of all academic certificates.

Mararike was recently relieved of his post as chairman of the sociology department after a petition signed by the department on January 4, calling for his removal over his qualifications.

“We the undersigned constituted as a departmental board of the Sociology department, met on January 4… discuss the state of affairs in the department, the following concerns were raised. The board noted that the acting chairperson has no discernible qualifications and background in sociology and social anthropology and therefore limited in giving guidance and teaching core aspects of the disciplines,” read the petition submitted to UZ vice chancellor Levi Nyagura.

Mararike has since been replaced by the pro vice-chancellor Pedzisai Mashiri.

A senior UZ lecturer said Nyangura had agreed with the board that Mararike was underqualified to head the department, yet found it prudent to allow him to supervise a PHD student.

“In simple terms, it was a Grade 7 pupil supervising a Form 6 student, such glaring contradictions will show you that, there was no degree, that award was hot air and nothing close to the degree,” the source said.

Mararike has, however, defended his qualifications saying in 1991, he went to Morgenster Teachers’ College for a teacher-training course, went to the University of Zimbabwe to read for a Bachelor of Arts, 1986, he enrolled at the University of Zimbabwe to study for a BSc honours in Sociology.

He said in 1989, he read for a Master of Philosophy and later enrolled for a Doctor of Literature and Philosophy, although he did not mention which institutions he studied with.

UZ vice-chancellor was arrested last week over the same issue.

– NewsDay


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