'Govt not concerned by honorary degrees'

HARARE - Government says it is not concerned by the honorary degrees conferred to music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi and nine other prominent Zimbabweans by the International Institute of Philanthropy (IIP).

Olivia Muchena, the Higher Education minister on Thursday told members of the Senate that her ministry did not see it as an issue worth responding to as the degrees were philanthropic.

Damian Mumvuri, the Senator for Rushinga wanted to know what action government would be taking on the institution after press reports said the honorary doctorate degrees offered by the institution fake.

Muchena explained to the House that philanthropy is when people use their artistic value and expertise in assisting their fellow beings without receiving payment.

She said government could only have been concerned if the degrees were of an academic nature.

“So we are talking of the conferment of degrees to voluntary workers of voluntary philanthropists. As a ministry, when we read about this, we said this organisation was showing a form of gratitude to people who are doing good service and hence, they were offering them these philanthropic degrees,” said Muchena.

IIP whose chief facilitator is Enrico Sibanda also awarded Zimbabwe Revenue Authority commissioner-general Gershem Pasi, United International Family Church’s Prophetess Ruth Makandiwa, wife to Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa, Isabel Chihuri wife to Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, former Zimbabwe National Roads Administration chief executive officer Frank Chitukutuku, Avenues Clinic managing director Merissa Kambani and Pastor Ruth Musarurwa of Christ Embassy with doctorate degrees for their “outstanding” humanitarian work.

Moonlight Funeral Assurance and Services Company chief executive Chomi Makina and Sibanda himself were also cited as outstanding philanthropists.

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