The naked truth about Joice Mujuru PhD thesis

By Don Chigumba

Allow me to share a critique of Joice Mujuru’s PhD thesis submitted to the University of Zimbabwe (UZ). I will try to make a comparison with the PhD thesis of Grace Mugabe also submitted to the UZ.

First Lady Grace Mugabe and the then Vice President Joice Mujuru get their PhD's (Pic by NewsDay)
Then First Lady Grace Mugabe and the then Vice President Joice Mujuru get their PhD’s (Pic by NewsDay)

In regards to Grace Mugabe’s thesis, my conclusion was that the piece was substandard and I asked people with theses for Joice Mujuru, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Jonathan Moyo and Gideon Gono to send to me for evaluation.  I managed to get a soft copy version of Mujuru’s thesis. I am waiting for the PhD thesis for VP Chiwenga.

TITLE: A Strategic Exploratory Entrepreneurship Study of Sustainable Agricultural Business: Case Studies of Mitchell and Mitchell Project in Mashonaland East Province and Dotito Irrigation Scheme in Mashonaland Central Province

A Letter for Data Collection

If you check on page 150 of Dr. Mujuru’s PhD thesis, there is a letter for data collection dated 02 December 2013 given to Joice Mujuru, signed by the Dean Faculty of Commerce. That is a standard practice for all research students and the letter will enable them to gain easy entry to the research site. What surprised me is that, I did not see such ‘letter for data collection’ attached in Grace Mugabe’ thesis and why? Why did the defense panelists fail to notice that?

Background to the Study

Joice Mujuru just like Grace Mugabe handled the background to the study badly. She only focused on local (Zimbabwean) literature to support her background to the study. The background should be supported by local, international and continental literature and Joyce Mujuru failed to address that.

Statement of the Problem

It was very clear, however, she was supposed to back it by citations. The problem was clear i.e. low production among small scale farmers provoked her to select the study title.

Objective and Research Questions

When giving a critique of Grace Mugabe’s thesis, I noted that the objectives and questions were not tallying, she had 3 objectives and 6 research questions which was wrong. Joyce Mujuru did very well she had 5 research questions and 5 research objectives which were closely connected and I liked that keep it up. 

Literature Review

There are two kinds of literature in theses, theoretical and empirical. Grace Mugabe just like Joyce Mujuru did well on the theoretical aspect of literature though she had some minor challenges in applying the study contexts. Mujuru made use of the strategic and entrepreneurship model.

Joyce Mujuru did not answer the empirical literature very well she should have answered all the 5 research questions raised in chapter one. The research questions were supposed to become sub headings. The literature was also supposed to be based on local, international and continental literature. The same problem was committed by Grace Mugabe.

There was no research gap in Joyce Mujuru’s thesis and I do not know what she was trying to cover. Grace Mugabe was better because she mentioned the words ‘research gap’ though she did not expose it. You cannot study PhD without exposing the uniqueness of your study.


I did not like the introduction of chapter three of Dr. Mujuru, she is not allowed to cite within introduction. The introduction should have been romantic in order to arouse the interests of examiners. I saw that problem with most of her chapters’ introductions. “An introduction should be as short as a miniskirt in order for it to arouse the interests of the examiners, but should be long enough for it to cover the essentials” Don Chigumba (2018)

I was impressed with the sources used by Joyce Mujuru in her methodology, any serious PhD students should do the same i.e. Creswell, Leach, Onwuegbuzie, Strauss and Cobin. Those are the gurus of research keep it up though she forgot my name.

Research Designs

Under research design, Grace Mugabe did nothing she narrated her family story of poverty and talked about divorce rates in Zimbabwe. Joyce Mujuru tried her best and I gave her good credit for that. She made use of a mixed methods approach and talked of what she called ‘convergent parallel design’

I told you before that mixed methods research is my area of specialization. Convergent parallel is not a design but a variant or model under triangulation. Mixed methods has four designs; triangulation, embedded, explanatory and exploratory. All these have variants, triangulation design has four major variants or models: data convergence model (the one she called convergent parallel design), quantitative data validating model, data transformation model and multivariate model. I used embedded model for my PhD. For more assistance inbox me.

Joyce Mujuru used case study among her designs and that was well and good. Case study is unique because the researcher should make use of several data collection methods and she did that I saw five data collection methods. However, she used observation as a data collection method, but I did not see her observation guide in the annex. The same mistake was committed by Grace Mugabe.

I liked the use of Krejcie and Morgan (1970) in her selection of sample size. 

Research Findings Chapter 5

Well-done according to the rules and managed to handle all the 5 research question.

Statistical Analysis

Spearman’s rank order correlation coefficient was used to measure the relationship between productivity and income. However, she should have put her data in a format of this nature P(…)0.799,p<0.05 in brackets (…) she was supposed to put sample size which I cannot see from your table. The equation represents a strong positive relationship between productivity and income that was significant.

Joyce Mujuru could have used complicated non-parametric measures other than Spearman, most of her data was non-parametric that is why I am giving her such direction. Spearmen alone in not adequate for a PhD level.

Qualitative Data Analysis

 It was not well done, I was expecting her to do a kind of open and axial coding which she did not do. She needs to undergo a course for qualitative data analysis. A PhD material should be able to perform open, axial and selective coding outside the grounded theory.

Her conclusion was confusing, she should have narrowed it to her research questions or  title


The work of Joyce Mujuru is fair for a PhD standard keep it up.

Don Chigumba is a Mixed Methods Specialist Based in South Africa