WIFE of Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe has found herself in an academic storm that has not only undermined her standing in the public eye but has also shredded the reputation of the country’s highest institution of learning.
Last week Grace Mugabe was awarded a PhD in sociology by the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) when she is known to have enrolled for a doctoral programme only in July. Her thesis is supposedly on orphanages but a copy of it could not be found in the university library or online before graduation day as is required.
One expert said: “A PhD thesis, after being defended successfully in the (relevant) faculty, is stored in the library repository of the university and is publicly available in hardy copy or online. This is a prerequisite before graduation day.”
But Ms Mugabe’s thesis was not available online.
She took the plunge into Zimbabwe’s stormy politics just before the Zanu PF women’s league congress in August when she was nominated to lead the influential branch of Mr Mugabe’s party.
Outgoing leader of the group, Oppah Muchinguri ostensibly voluntarily relinquished her secretary for women’s affairs position and nominated Ms Mugabe to replace her. Mr Mugabe himself quickly anointed her ascension.
But events that followed Ms Mugabe’s entry show the move was part of a grand plan to manage the factious party’s succession wars; especially to thwart Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s succession.