Moyo defence of Grace PhD strange

HARARE - Information minister, Jonathan Moyo has taken the unusual step of defending First Lady Grace Mugabe’s doctorate that has been the subject of much discussion and speculation over the past few weeks.

But instead of shedding light and bringing finality to the matter, as Moyo might have hoped to achieve, his move has seemingly only served to stoke the frenzied speculation surrounding the PhD further, as the key details regarding Grace’s admission and studies at the University of Zimbabwe remain shrouded in mystery.

The only thing that Moyo dealt with in his spirited defence of the First Lady’s doctorate was the fact that Grace did not award the degree to herself.

But then again, no one has ever said that she awarded herself the PhD.

Which leads one to ask what really is going on with Grace’s doctorate and why Moyo — who has curiously taken the role of spokesperson for the First Lady lately — is getting into this heavyweight boxing match with his hands seemingly tied behind his back.

In his polemical defence of Grace’s doctorate on Tuesday, Moyo said President Robert Mugabe’s wife, who graduated from the UZ and was duly capped by her Chancellor husband last month, was a victim of newspapers who had covered the issue from an ignorant and political viewpoint.

“There is no-one who has spoken about this doctorate from a position of information. Since the last time I checked, I haven’t checked today, no-one! No-one has commented on this from an academic point of view. Nobody, not anyone. We are talking about an academic degree and must remember that nobody awards themselves a degree.

“You can only be judged yourself by what you do, but one thing you can never ever do — you can’t give yourself a degree. She has never done that and no-one has claimed anything to that effect. I think that there is, sometimes a problem when the media creates an issue and we run with that issue and then miss facts. So far there is no controversy.

“If there is any, it is the controversy created by ignorant people who actually have not seen the degree itself. They have not seen the dissertation and they have not seen the dissertations of others.

Probably, they have been told about the dissertation. They talk about one. Have they seen the other 11 (people who graduated on the same day with the First Lady) and do these 11 meet the internationally-acceptable standards? You can’t say that unless you have seen it (the degree),” Moyo thundered.

But he didn’t stop there, as one would expect.

In a further revealing comment that perhaps highlights the real mega politics of Grace’s PhD, Moyo said the allegation that a dissertation by Vice President Joice Mujuru, who was also awarded a doctorate at the same graduation ceremony, had been filed at the UZ library was misleading.

“You go there. The last time I went there, there were none, not even one. So, I think if people have issues of a political nature with a public figure, it will do all of us good to stick to those issues,” he said.

Aha! So, it would appear that the less critical press that Mujuru received regarding her PhD, compared to the First Lady, is what rankles in the minister’s circles.

Could this indeed be the nub of this “political” and media onslaught that Moyo is complaining about, particularly given the political dynamics and the geography of Zanu PF’s factions?

I leave readers to reach their own conclusions on this.

What is baffling to many, particularly as this is coming from a politician and academic of Moyo’s standing, is that he should be surprised that Zimbabweans and the media are interested in Grace, her political ambitions and her PhD — including the circumstances under which she acquired it.

Let’s be honest, only Grace and Joice were the mega high profile figures who graduated with PhDs on the day in question. The other distinguished PhD scholars, with due respect to minister Lazarus Dokora, were relatively small fries.

Indeed, one cannot happily play in public spaces as Grace is doing and lapping it when the attention is positive to her, and not expect to be scrutinised closely when the situation is deserving, as is the case with this PhD. As it is said, she can’t have her cake and eat it at the same time!

Moyo also forgets in his misguided defence of Grace’s PhD that some of the people querying this doctorate are in fact senior academics at the UZ who want the allegation that the First Lady may have acquired her degree in controversial circumstances to be dealt with transparently and fully in the interests of Grace herself and the university.

In that light, it is surely not asking too much of our dithering UZ authorities that they should, in this case, take urgent steps to deal with this matter themselves, rather than via Moyo — by availing to the public all relevant facts such as her qualifications prior to enrolling for the PhD, when she enrolled at the university, the criteria used in enrolling her and who her treatise supervisor/s are/were.

Surely, the UZ understands the damage that this saga is causing to the vaunted institution the longer this matter is not decisively and appropriately dealt with?

Whatever Moyo and other politicians may think, this issue is no longer just about politics.

It is also now about the future of the UZ itself, the integrity of all people concerned with the UZ, and the standing of Zimbabwe and its citizens internationally, among many other important considerations to be taken into account.

Comments (12)

Prof Moyo wants to hoodwink us into believing that we don't know the rules and regulations pertaining to the awarding of academic degrees at university level, especially at PhD level. For instance, when did The First Lady publicly defend her thesis? On what date did the university publicize the occasion of her defence of the thesis as per regulations? These, and the issues raised in this article, are common and ordinary information which Prof Moyo should give us instead of asking us 'to see the degree.' There is no requirement in the regulations which says everyone should see the degree since that has never been a requirement of any university that the public should 'see' the degree as if it were a museum exhibition. At least we know that people like Dokora and Mai Mujuru had other post-graduate degrees before they received their PhDs, but not 'Dr Grace.'

Chenjerai Hove - 17 October 2014

Hove wandispaka. Hanzi "see the degree". I don't know where we are heading kana madegree ava kuonekwa. Its only in Zimbabwe where I have heard of tangible degrees kkkk. This one shud go into the Guiness book of world records.

ndozvo - 17 October 2014

degree rakaitwa but kamuitiro nekwarakaitirwa ndiko kwatisati taudzwa. take heart guys tichaudzwa.

sunga - 17 October 2014

Why should Moyo not defend Grace? Moyo is a Zimbabwean citizen and can say out what he thinks. Anyone is free to attack or defend Grace. The problem with Zimbabweans is that they want people of different opinions to shut up. It is wrong. I may not totally agree with Jonathan Moyo, but I will defend his right to express himself, just like he should let everyone express themselves. That's freedom.

machakachaka - 17 October 2014

Jonah, Jonah, Jonah, what are up to now you slimy slithering serpent? A professor defending a faked doctorate! This one of your wicked plots again isn't it? You just can't stop scheming, scheming, scheming. If only you used that crafty brain of yours for the good of the country!

Johno - 17 October 2014

It needs no kindergarden student to see that Graces thesis 'The changing social structure. The function of the family. The case of Zimbabwe Childrens home.' does not pass the SMART test as it is not specific, and worse not attainable or achievable in the 2months she is claimed to have moved in countrys Childrens Home to finish the 5star dissertation which made her skip a Masters degree. It needs only supersonic cheating to do in 2months what everybody does in 4 years.

Dr Ginyabvurr - 17 October 2014

Stupid Jonathan...shut the f*** up. Tichakuwana chete rimwe gore. Chingochani chavakukuvhiringidza.. pfutseke wako Jonso

garikayi - 17 October 2014

Jonathan Moyo, you can syllogise as much as you want but the fact still remains that Grace 7% Mugabe DOES NOT have an EARNED doctorate. Just look at the shallowness she is displaying in the series of rallies being attended by people who have been coerced to attend or are duped to think they will be given something by 'Disgrace'. In any case, this is a first in ZANU(PF) that someone who is nominated but has not been elected, is given such privileges to address POVO (People of Various Opinions). Why this favour? As for your comments on the PhD (Puwa Hako Degree), Jonathan, you do not have much choice because you are an MP and Minister at the behest of Robert Mugabe. So what else can you say, except to stupidly defend the indefensible? As for Grace, where is your WAR RECORD? Are the so called Army Generals going to salute you since they openly said they can only do it to someone with a war record. Zvakaoma nhai??

Zviripiko Matakanyanya - 17 October 2014

When Mujuru takes over leadership of ZANU-PF (and perhaps becomes President of the country), Grace will again be a nobody.

david taylor - 17 October 2014

When Mujuru takes over leadership of ZANU-PF (and perhaps becomes President of the country), Grace will again be a nobody.

david taylor - 17 October 2014

Come on Johna. You can do better than this cheap defence of this supposedly achieved PhD you are throwing at us. You are in it already. Get her thesis sorted out, couch her on how to defend the thesis, put yourself or some sharp lad in position as her academic supervisor and take as much as over 1 year with her every evening spoon feeding her. You see, she is academically thick. We all can see how academically daft she is especially as she has been with you on these meet the people circus road shows. We all know that you are the one who wrote this circus script she has been using for meet the people road show. She deviated from your script to the point that you are had to explain to the people that it is not Mai Mujuru she meant. She is daft. You have to look after her and sing for your supper. you must make her fake PhD look at least genuine. After all the first family have looked after you by awarding ministerial positions you have not been elected by the people. You have to defend her smarter than you are doing. In fact train and teach her so well that she should be able to defend her thesis in front of a public panel. You should better than this crap!

Mbare boy - 18 October 2014

Maybe he fancies Disgrace!

Sing for your supper - 18 October 2014

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