ZIMBABWE Council for Higher Education (Zimche) has said the institution that conferred honorary doctorate degrees to music maestro Oliver Mtukudzi and nine other prominent Zimbabweans was neither registered nor affiliated to any university.
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority commissioner-general Gershem Pasi, one of the purported beneficiaries of the honorary degrees by the International Institute of Philanthropy (IIP), yesterday said he had snubbed the accolade.
"Zimche processes are in motion to get to the bottom of the matter," Hilton Chikuya, acting chief executive officer of the higher education regulatory body, said yesterday.
"We have already dispatched our team to check on the institution to establish if it is operating legally. Universities are the only institutions allowed to offer degrees.
"Other institutions should be affiliated to a university and working under the supervision of that university. IIP is not registered with us and is not affiliated to any university."
Mtukudzi and nine other Zimbabweans were last month conferred with Honorary Doctorate of Human Letters (DHL) degrees by the IIP in recognition of their "contribution to humanity".
Philanthropy Institute of Zimbabwe (PIZ) chief facilitator Enrico Sibanda on Monday said his organisation was not affiliated to any university because it did not offer educational degrees. Sibanda denied that the PIZ was an affiliate of IIP despite earlier claiming that PIZ got its affiliate status with IIP in 2013.
Pasi said he refused the honour and did not even attend the graduation ceremony.
"The correct position is that, contrary to such reports, Pasi did not accept the honorary degree. He even formally and unequivocally informed PIZ of his position and reasons for not accepting the honorary degree. As a result, neither Pasi nor his family or Zimra attended the degree conferment or graduation event held in Harare recently," Zimra said in a statement.
Some of the people honoured alongside Mtukudzi were United International Family Church's Ruth Makandiwa, Isabel Chihuri, former Zimbabwe National Roads Administration chief executive officer Frank Chitukutuku, Avenues Clinic managing director Merissa Kambani and Pastor Ruth Musarurwa of Christ Embassy.
Moonlight Funeral Assurance chief executive Chomi Makina, an Avondale Primary School headmistress and Sibanda himself were also cited as outstanding philanthropists. Some of the honoured "philanthropists" do not even have a proven record in humanitarian work, including Sibanda himself.
Vice-President Joice Mujuru is said to have snubbed the offer. But in May, Mujuru and 19 other women were inducted into the Women's Heritage Society Hall of Fame from Heritage Society, another outfit run by Sibanda.
It is also emerging that some people being paraded as the best brains in the country have obtained dubious qualifications from the IIP.