via Grace Mugabe defends her PhD 3 October 2014 by Nunurai jena
FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe yesterday broke the silence over her controversial PhD conferment, saying she was determined to defend it and prove that she earned the title through hard work.
Addressing her maiden political rally in Chinhoyi following her recent conferment of a Doctorate of Philosophy degree by the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) and her nomination to lead the Zanu PF Women’s League, Grace vowed to shame her detractors.
“Today is an important day for me as it is a day I was asked by women in the country to kick-start my political career,” she said.
The First Lady’s PhD has stirred controversy over the past few weeks amid reports that UZ authorities could have upgraded her Master’s degree to a PhD, with some sources saying she did not even study for the degree programme.
The speculation swirled last week following reports that her thesis file was missing in the university archives, although her peers, including Vice-President Joice Mujuru, had their thesis documents publicised.
However, UZ authorities have kept silent over the issue while Grace’s sympathisers have claimed that the speculative reports were part of a plot to derail her budding political career.
Addressing over 2 000 Zanu PF supporters at her campaign rally at Chinhoyi Stadium, Grace said what matters most was not titles, but ability to deliver on people’s needs.
“You might have the title, but fail to garner the respect from the people . . . I can be called First Lady or Doctor Mugabe and put certificates on the walls of my house, but that certificate is not the one that will work,” she said.
Grace also took a swipe at factionalism in the ruling party and bemoaned what she termed lack of proper leadership qualities among some Zanu PF officials, adding that should her husband President Robert Mugabe decide to quit active politics, the party would crumble.
“Factionalism will get us nowhere. If what we are hearing is true, then those who are doing it are a shame to the party . . . they are getting money from the Americans and the British to destabilise our party.”
Grace warned party members to work tirelessly all the time not to wait for election time to visit constituencies.
Speaking at the same event, outgoing secretary for the Women’s League Oppah Muchinguri said the First Lady would now be the chief adviser to President Mugabe on almost everything.
“She is now the chief adviser of President Mugabe. That is why when she came here she wanted to know about the fairness of inputs distribution and report back on many other issues . . . the senior queen is now Amai Mugabe,” said Muchinguri