University of Zimbabwe (UZ) Vice Chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura was arrested yesterday on allegations of abuse of office involving the awarding of a Doctor of Philosophy degree to former First Lady Grace Mugabe.
Although doctorates typically require several years of full-time research and writing, Grace was awarded hers by the University of Zimbabwe in 2014 within a space of three months. Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) spokesperson Ms Phyllis Chikundura confirmed the arrest.
“Yes, he has been arrested on allegations of abuse of office over the doctorate of former First Lady Grace Mugabe,” she said. “He is detained at Mabelreign Police Station and he will appear in court tomorrow (today).”
Last month the head of investigations at the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, Goodson Nguni, said “We indeed received a report from the sociology department at the university on how Grace Mugabe received her doctorate and that is what we are investigating.”
Also under investigation is lecturer and former Sociology department chairman, Claude Mararike, who supervised Grace Mugabe’s PhD. Last month Nehanda Radio reported how Nyagura was actively working to cover up for the fraudulent manner in which Grace Mugabe got the PhD.
With growing calls for the PhD to be revoked, Vice Chancellor Nyagura was instead allegedly victimising lecturers in the Sociology Department; “threatening members with instant dismissal, suspension of degree programme and closure of the department,” a lecturer told Nehanda Radio.
Prof Nyagura is being accused of un-procedurally awarding the PhD without the approval of both the University Council and the Senate Committee. He recently blasted lecturers in the Department of Sociology for challenging the awarding of the contentious doctorate, saying they were “ignorant Messrs and doctors”, with no academic capacity to supervise a PhD student.
Prof Nyagura claimed that PhD students were supervised by the post-graduate centre and not by a teaching department. He dismissed allegations that the thesis was not in the library until this year, but was deposited in 2014. He said Mrs Mugabe’s thesis was supervised by two professors, who also supervised former Vice President Joice Mujuru.