via Students take Grace PhD fight to court 30 September 2014
THE Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) said it has mobilised over 2,000 signatures of students from all the country’s universities which they will attach to a court application challenging the awarding of a PhD to Grace Mugabe by the University of Zimbabwe (UZ).
The development comes as the State-run Herald newspaper claimed there was a sinister agenda to embarrass President Mugabe’s wife while propping up Vice President Joice Mujuru who also graduated with a PhD at the same time.
In a report Wednesday, the newspaper questioned the fact that Mujuru’s thesis is already available in the UZ library while Grace’s is not – an absence used by the privately-owned media to back claims that the First Lady’s PhD award could have been irregular.
“We have managed to get 854 signatures at the University of Zimbabwe, 434 from the National University of Science and Technology, Midlands State University we got 576, and 896 from Great Zimbabwe University,” Gilbert Mutubuki ZINASU president told NewZimbabwe.com in an interview Tuesday night.
“We are currently identifying a constitutional lawyer from the country’s best such lawyers who will approach the constitutional court on our behalf before the end of the week because we do not want to appear stupid if we approach the courts without the relevant convincing research and required information and facts to support our arguments,” he added.
Grace was among the 3,274 students who graduated two weeks ago at the UZ and was capped by her husband President Robert Mugabe who is the UZ Chancellor.
But ZINASU said it was not fighting the person of the First Lady but protecting the credibility of the country’s education system.
“We have nothing against the First Lady but what we want is to protect the reputation of our education system so that we will not be underrated by the world in terms of our education.
“If a person does a PhD he or she has to do a research and that research is put in the library for future records and use by other students who will follow,” said Mutubuki.
Meanwhile the Herald newspaper claimed Wednesday that “the process of authenticating, indexing and publishing dissertations and theses took at least 12 months after graduation” suggesting there was a sinister motive in the “super-fast” publication of the vice president’s thesis.
An unidentified UZ academic told the newspaper: “Some thesis will take about a year or more to be available on the shelves of the library.
“There is, however, no stipulated time on how long it will take to have a thesis available in the library. But surely it cannot be found in the library’s shelf immediately after graduation. It is highly unusual and raises eyebrows.”
“The move is meant to raise questions about the authenticity of the First Lady’s academic achievements, yet the records are there to prove that she went through all the processes.’’