The University of Zimbabwe has dismissed claims that Grace Mugabe, ex-First Lady, was not the author of her controversial doctorate thesis.
The Vice Chancellor, Mr. Levi Nyagura, said on Friday that that the university stood by its decision in awarding the ex-first lady her PhD.
According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, Nyagura maintained that the thesis had been at the university library since 2014.
He explained that those making the accusations were “ignorant messrs and doctors” without the capacity to supervise a PhD student.
“There is no way that they could have supervised the candidate because a doctorate is not done by a teaching department. It is done by a post-graduate centre,” Nyagura said.
He said the PhD was supervised by two professors, who had also supervised ex-deputy president Joice Mujuru.
This came amid reports that the university’s sociology department teaching staffs had challenged the accreditation of the PhD to Grace.
Academics in both Zimbabwe and South Africa last week poured scorn on Grace’s PhD and described it as “the greatest academic fraud in history” .
They said out that it didn’t meet the minimum standard for a doctoral thesis.
Grace was awarded the doctorate in sociology by UZ in August 2014, just three months after she was first reported to have enrolled.
The thesis was only posted onto the university website last month, four years late.
Since then, it has become the subject of intense scrutiny, and ridicule.
“It’s not a PhD thesis but a mere compilation of plagiarised text and quotations from grey literature, newspaper articles, television and radio programmes. It does not contribute original ideas to knowledge,” analyst Maxwell Saungweme was quoted as saying at the time.
Nyagura blasted lecturers in the Department of Sociology for challenging the awarding of a doctorate to former First Lady Grace Mugabe.