PRESIDENT-ELECT Emmerson Mnangagwa has suspended University of Zimbabwe vice-chancellor, Levi Nyagura for awarding former First Lady Grace Mugabe a Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD) under controversial circumstances.
Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda wrote to Higher and Tertiary Education minister Amon Murwira informing him of Mnangagwa’s decision.
“Please, be advised that his Excellency the President and Chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe, being the appointing authority in terms of section 8 of the University of Zimbabwe Act, (Chapter 25:16), hereby suspends Professor Levi Nyagura as the vice-chancellor, pending the finalisation of his alleged charges of criminal abuse of office,” Sibanda said in a letter dated August 16.
He said the suspension was in terms of Section 340 (1) (f) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, read together with section 28 of the Interpretation Act (Chapter 1:01).
The suspension was with immediate effect and with full benefits.
Nyagura is currently facing trial at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts on charges of criminal abuse of office.
Allegations are that sometime in 2011, Nyagura single-handedly accepted and approved an application by Ntombizodwa G Marufu (Grace’s maiden name) to study for a PhD in sociology without the knowledge and recommendation of the departmental board and faculty of higher degrees committee in violation of UZ quality assurance, guidelines and benchmark.
It is alleged during the same period, Nyagura covertly appointed Claude Mararike and a Professor I. Chaneta to supervise Grace’s thesis without the knowledge and approval of the department board of sociology, who are mandated to accept the applications and allocate it to supervisors of students in terms of general academic regulations.
The State alleges that Nyagura usurped the powers of the senate by single-handedly appointing examiners to examine Grace’s research in violation of UZ Act chapter 25:16 and Ordinance 1998/99 volume, which gave prerogative to the senate.
Nyagura allegedly led supervisors and examiners to Grace’s Mazowe Estate, where oral examinations were purportedly done, whereas the oral examinations were supposed to be done at the UZ premises.
It is alleged during the same year, Nyagura recommended to the chancellor the conferment of a doctor of philosophy degree in sociology to Grace without the knowledge and approval of the UZ council and academic committee.