Welshman Ncube’s opposition MDC has called for the arrest of former first lady Grace Mugabe for fraudulently obtaining a doctorate that she apparently received within months.
This comes after Zimbabwean anti-corruption investigators have said the ongoing probe into the alleged academic fraud at the UZ that has seen the arrest of UZ vice chancellor Levy Nyagura and a probe into UZ lecturer Claude Mararike will not lead to the arrest of Grace.
During his court hearing, Nyagura was accused of approving Grace’s application without the knowledge and recommendations of the departmental board and faculty of higher degrees committee in violation of UZ quality assurance guidelines and benchmark.
Nyagura has been remanded to March 5 on $200 bail.
The MDC said it “applauds his arrest.”
Grace Mugabe, a ferociously ambitious politician and chief contributor to the downfall of her 94-year-old husband, was awarded a PhD by the University of Zimbabwe in 2014.
It is alleged Grace had not actually studied or undertaken research to earn the doctorate and that she had been handed her a diploma just months after enrolling.
PhDs typically require several years of full-time research and writing.
“As MDC, it is our conviction that the real culprit here is Grace .
“We believe she initiated the whole embarrassing academic scandal. In our view Grace is accused number one,” Kurauone Chihwayi, the MDC national spokesperson, said.
Goodson Nguni, lead investigator at the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission, has been quoted in news wires claiming that Zacc’s probe would not lead to the arrest of Grace.
“There is no evidence to probe Grace. Grace is not a University of Zimbabwe official; she does not know the rules of how people are granted PhDs.
“We are investigating those people who knew the regulations and who fraudulently did whatever they did,” Nguni said.
“If you go to a company on the internet called Pacific University, they award PhDs after small examinations which are not recognised by anybody.
“If someone decides to go and buy a degree from them, they cannot be charged for that.
“So we are not probing Grace, we are probing those university authorities who violated university regulations.”
The MDC said it has “grave misgivings” as to the handling of the scandal which it said has tarnished the integrity of Zimbabwe’s education system.
Chihwayi said the failure to arrest Grace makes a mockery of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s vow that he has zero tolerance on any form of corruption.
“For him to be taken seriously the president must walk the talk and relevant anti-corruption units in his government must act and retour the country’s proud academic history. This habit of selective application of justice should immediately stop,” Chihwayi said.
“Now we learn with great shock that Zacc is wasting tax-payers’ money and resources on an investigation into Grace’s PHD supervisor, professor Claude Mararike, with a view to check if he possessed the requisite qualifications for the job.
“We feel these developments on the ground point to a Zacc that cannot exhibit fair play and casts doubt on the genuineness of the anti-corruption unit in stamping out corruption.
“We are demanding the arrest of Grace as this will prove to the nation that no one is above the law. “
Grace dropped out of a correspondence course at the University of London after failing most of the exams with marks as low as seven percent.
The MDC called on Mnangagwa to “immediately dissolve Zacc and appoint competent and non-compromised people who will diligently carry out their mandate without fear or favour.”