By Don Chigumba
The Zimbabwe Independent Newspaper of 05th January 2018 published an article claiming that the sociology department of the University of Zimbabwe sent a petition to Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) requesting it to investigate, revoke and nullify Grace Mugabe’s PhD.
This piece seeks to clarify on two issues; first, denounce the procedure being taken by the sociology department of University of Zimbabwe and finally, to educate the educated university professors about the correct procedures to follow in case of Amai Grace Mugabe’s PhD Revocation.
The university professors from the department of sociology embarrassed the entire country by petitioning Zacc to investigate, revoke and nullify the PhD of Amai Grace Mugabe. I once attacked Professor Jonathan Moyo when he was trying to revoke and nullify Dombo’s degree. The duty of nullifying university degrees rests upon the university organs and even God has no power to direct.
By international standards, a university is ‘a small State’ within a State, with powers to govern and control the government and society. A university has all the freedoms, and should be free from political interference. If you check the article 15 (if not mistaken) of the constitution of the University of Dar es salaam, security organs and politicians are not allowed in the university compound without permission from the university authorities.
In Zimbabwe, university professors like Makumbe, Madhuku and others terrorized/criticized Mr. Mugabe’s government without being harmed, because the former president knew the independence of university institutions and their Professors. Universities have freedom of manufacturing diseases or creating a human being from the ‘union’ of man and a dog.
The university has no right whatsoever to take its students to the police or any investigating agency without taking its own actions basing on constitution of the university.
Former President Mugabe had some of his degrees revoked but the matter was never taken to the investigative authorities of Britain. The university is given powers by its constitution to revoke Amai Grace Mugabe’s PhD without going through the Zacc.
Why going through Zacc? The move is wrong because it is meant to politicize university matters, I value UZ because it is the mirror of Zimbabwe and a move by UZ sociology’s so called professors to take Amai Grace Mugabe case to Zacc is unbecoming. UZ has just to revoke and nullify the PhD and if Zacc and police want to investigate and arrest some culprits that won’t be the duty of UZ authorities, the university is not a policeman or hangman.
According to Madondo, Silas M., in his textbook titled ‘Essentials of Social Science Research (2016), international code of research ethics dictates that researchers including universities may conduct research with drug-dealers or subjects who may be on the wrong side of the law but it is not their duty to report them to the security people.
Drug-dealers’ rights to privacy have to be protected. In this regard, despite the fact that Amai Grace Mugabe is a controversial politician, her rights have to be protected just like the rights of drug dealers. UZ should make their investigations behind the closed doors and avoid the public.
The UZ is setting a wrong precedents by taking the matter to Zacc and police investigations. The university procedures are clear and our learned professors should avoid becoming political. The university professors should agree to revoke and nullify Amai Mugabe’s PhD in their department and take the proposal to the university’s faculty assembly before taking the matter to the senate.
If the senate accepts the decision of the faculty assembly, the matter should be taken to the university council for approval. In case, the chairperson of the senate in this case Professor Levi Nyagura is trying to block the move, the university faculty assembly has a right to push a motion calling for his removal.
The UZ department of sociology members should withdraw their petition from Zacc and give the university structures chance to handle the matter. The university should remain apolitical in matters related to the university because the credibility of the university may suffer a blow like what happened with Amai Grace Mugabe and Professor Jonathan Moyo’s interference that led to the unholy award of PhD to Amai Mugabe.
I am calling upon President Mnangagwa who is the UZ Chancellor and the Chief Commander of Zimbabwe Defense Forces to call his confused university professors to order and or put the professors under ‘library arrest’ (in UZ library) so that they may be released after mastering/reading the university procedures and the way universities are run.
Don Chigumba is a political analyst based in South Africa