Grace Mugabe’s “Fake” Degree Is Genuine & Deserved: Former Chancellor Tells Court
Former University of Zimbabwe (UZ) Vice-Chancellor Prof Levi Nyagura has declared that there is nothing fake about former First Lady Grace Mugabe’s Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree. Nyagura insisted that the controversial degree is genuine and deserved when he presented his defence case at the Harare Magistrates’ Court.
The former Vice-Chancellor is facing criminal abuse of office charges. The charges stem from the degree that was awarded to the former first lady Grace Mugabe by the UZ’s Faculty of Social Studies Department of Sociology in 2014.
The degree attracted intense criticism and speculation after claims that Grace did not defend her thesis, let alone write one and that she did not take the required period of time to complete the doctorate.
When he appeared before Chief Magistrate Munamato Mtevedzi on Thursday, Nyagura said that the fact that the degree has not been revoked almost 7 years later shows that it is genuine and deserved.
The Herald reports that part of Nyagura’s defence outline reads,
“To the accused’s knowledge, the conferment of the application was done lawfully and in accordance with the latitudes afforded such functionaries.
“The accused strongly denies any unlawful act or illicit intent in any of his actions or inactions as regards to award of a doctorate to Mugabe. In fact, the university, to date, has neither withdrawn, cancelled nor disowned the degree confered to her which is therefore, proof of the fact that it is aunthentic and deserved,”
Nyagura’s lawyer, Advocate Tawanda Zhuwarara further argued that his client complied with all known regulations and statutes in awarding the degree to Grace Mugabe.
Nyagura has previously argued that he should not be placed on trial at all because the degree in question remains valid. He argued that if President Mnangagwa in his role as the Chancellor of all state universities had not revoked the degree, then there is no criminality involved in its conferment.
In making this application for exception to the charges, Nyagura said
The charges by the state fail to consider three important facts. Firstly the PhD remains extant.
Its validity cannot be put in question by criminal process. Section 7 of the University of Zimbabwe Act reposes the power to rescind and set aside degrees in the chancellor.
The current Chancellor Emerson Mnangagwa has not revoked this degree and the former Chancellor Robert Mugabe approved and conferred this degree.
However, the application for exception to the charges was unsuccessful.
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