FORMER University of Zimbabwe (UZ) registrar Seagent Chevo has said former First Lady Grace Ntombizodwa Mugabe (nee Marufu) deserved her doctor of philosophy degree, adding that she was “thoroughly examined” before the award.
Chevo made the remarks yesterday during the trial of former UZ vice-chancellor Levi Nyagura for allegedly single-handedly awarding Grace a degree without following due process.
Chevo told magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi that Grace was thoroughly examined to the extent that she started to shiver before she became calm.
“Nyagura was chairing the oral examination panel and Grace was asked a lot of questions. She was shivering and later on she stabilised. After the questions, she was asked to leave the room and the committee deliberated on her performance,” Chevo told the court.
He said the panel included several professors among them, Charity Manyeruke, Claude Mararike among others and they unanimously agreed that she deserved the degree.
The former registrar said during the oral examination, he was taking minutes.
“The vice-chancellor advised me to write the minutes and I sent them to him for approval. After the approval of the minutes, there was some break and one of the days, he called me and instructed me to ask one Takawira to prepare a certificate for her. I then called Takawira and told her what had been instructed by the vice-chancellor,” Chevo added.
Chevo said the process that led to the awarding of the degree was normal to any student who registered with the UZ and he only knew of the allegations after he was asked to make a warned and cautioned statement by police.
While under cross-examination from Nyagura’s lawyer, Tawanda Zhuwarara, Chevo repeated that Grace was thoroughly examined and she answered the questions very well.
“I still stand with my statement that Grace was thoroughly examined. There was no favour and it was actually grilling.”
He told the court that he never saw any favouritism during oral examination and normal procedure was used during all processes.
Another State witness, Sifikile Makwavarara also told the court that she did not see Grace’s documentation as the incident happened before her appointment. The matter was postponed to Wednesday next week.