Scramble for degrees

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace and his deputy Joice Mujuru were yesterday capped with doctorate degrees at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), as politicians and military officials scramble for academic credentials, and honours.

With society and the Zanu PF leader putting special emphasis on education as a springboard for national leadership, Mugabe’s lieutenants, including army general Constantine Chiwenga, Environment minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Primary, and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora, have heeded the call for schooling seriously.

At the graduation ceremony in Harare yesterday, Mujuru — who reportedly leads a faction to succeed Mugabe — was the first of many political leaders to be capped.

On the other hand, Grace graduated with a doctorate in philosophy and whose thesis was: “The changing social structure, the functions of the family: The case of children’s homes in Zimbabwe”.

Despite opting out of a University of London degree programme in the late 90s, Mugabe’s wife has attained a doctorate degree from the country’s highest learning institution.

Just as her meteoric rise in politics has rattled many in the ruling party, her latest “academic coup” has shocked all and sundry given her less glamorous past educationally.

At the time, the Zimbabwean First Lady was reported to have passed just two subjects and had until December 2004 to complete the degree or face de-registration.

But with her new academic credentials and a seat in the Zanu PF leadership now assured following her overwhelming endorsement for the party’s Women’s League, Grace can virtually “match any other person” or pretender(s) to the throne.

Mujuru, on the other hand, also scooped a philosophy degree doctorate — a milestone for someone who had sparse education and could barely read when first appointed to government in 1980.

By her own admission, the Zanu PF number two leader says when she was appointed to Cabinet at independence she could hardly speak English.

According to Mujuru, a Mugabe loyalist, she says she will never forget the day or moment when her 90-year-old commander looked her in the eye and said: “Can you see a gun now? So if you were courageous enough to handle a gun, be courageous enough to handle a book. Read, go to the office and read.”

Mugabe and others, she says, sent her books to study Standard Seven and then ordinary levels. Apart from the novels that her leaders sent her, some whites “taught her etiquette, how to turn on a stove and answer a phone”.

Dokora, the Primary Education boss, also obtained a doctor of philosophy degree.

A pleasantly surprised Mugabe also capped Abigail Damasane, the Deputy minister of Gender Affairs, at the “historic” graduation and where she obtained a Masters degree in Public Administration.

So desperate has been some Zanu PF bigwigs to impress Mugabe and the public with academic accolades that individuals like Phillip Chiyangwa have enmeshed themselves in controversy after acquiring an honorary doctorate from little-known universities such as St Linus University from the Phillipines.

However, the flamboyant businessman and his associates has defended his “academic credentials” on the grounds that the institution was affiliated to the United Nations, and Commonwealth.

A proven bookworm boasting several degrees in law and economics, Mugabe has packed his Cabinet with fairly educated men and women — and who in the present case or scenario of succession wars — see education as their only hope for dispensing off competition or a pre-requisite for higher government positions.

But in an unprecedented move, the best Law Faculty students in the form of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) organising secretary Nelson Chamisa and Josephine Chiname — supposed winners of the Book Prize and as is the norm in all other faculties — were not capped by Mugabe.

They were instead mass capped like all other ordinary graduates.

Commenting on the saga, Chamisa said: “What is more important… is that l have graduated and l am looking forward to balancing my political career, which is my staple food and legal practice — my passion because l am not sure where my bias is”.

Solomon Madzore, the former youth president of a united MDC, also graduated with a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Social Work.

Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwawo, meanwhile, was capped with a master’s degree in economics.Some of the politicians, who graduated yesterday, join a growing list of public officials who have mysteriously acquired academic credentials.

In 2011, Chiwenga attained a masters’ degree in International Relations and also won book prize after coming out tops in his class.

A total of 10 graduates were conferred with doctorate degrees out of 2716 students who graduated yesterday, 28 of them with disabilities, 545 masters degrees, 139 medical doctors, 13 dental surgeons, 57 pharmacists, 17 veterinary surgeons, 279 accountants, 102 lawyers, 18 radiologists, 13 computer scientists, 125 agricultural experts and 99 engineers according to Nyagura, with 67 graduating with first class degrees.


Comments (10)

Heyi, saka Chamisa ane njere mupengo, aita best student futi kulaw? Keep going Nelson!

Daniel Berejena - 14 September 2014

Its now dibulabatibu for degrees in zim . Our degrees are now cheap like our farms it reminds me of a certain populous African country were it is said if you throw a stone anywhere it will hit a phd graduate but unfortunately all those phd holders are machiyinyokas . We are following suit except for few politician who have jobs although their jobs are not permanent the rest will find themselves in south africa mixing daka at some building sites hey madoda why ? i think Mugabe is the problem.

Diibulaanyika - 14 September 2014

it is hard to imagine that some of these people are obtaining these degrees proper. very hard to imagine.

taurai - 14 September 2014

Congratulations Hon Chamisa for your impressive academic achievement. Congratulations to your other colleagues in politics. Your resilience to complete university programmes of study surely proves that other Hon members can follow your steps and serve this country in an informed and more useful way

Tony - 15 September 2014

ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! How absurd can you be? Grace, a doctor? Zvinonzwisa tsitsi zve mu Zimbabwe chokwadi!

Johno - 15 September 2014

Chamisa wava prepared to takeover from that uneducated fool !

Chasura - 15 September 2014

Chamisa wava prepared to takeover from that uneducated fool !

Chasura - 15 September 2014

Kudzidza nekufunga zvinhu zvakasiyana,dai kudzidza kuri kufunga dai tisiri patiri nhasi! vamwe vanoti vakadzidza but havafungi ,kwatiri kuti kudzidza kudzidza zvakafungwa neumwe munhu ndopatinedambudziko manje,ngatifungeyi kwete kudzidza

mulenga - 15 September 2014

ZIMCHE pindirai pama fake degrees.

Gono - 15 September 2014

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