Zimbabwe's anti-corruption watchdog is investigating the awarding of a PhD to Grace Mugabe, the wife of the country's former president, Robert Mugabe.
The Zimbabwean Anti-Corruption Commission is looking into the circumstances surrounding her doctorate after academics and students raised concerns that she was awarded the degree two months after enrolling at the University of Zimbabwe and that her thesis remains unpublished.
Lecturers at the institution’s department of sociology filed a petition to the commission, which described the qualification as “very suspicious”.
A report in the Zimbabwe Independent suggests that the commission is now investigating.
Robert Mugabe had been chancellor of all state universities in the African country until he stepped down as president in November 2017. He awarded his wife’s doctorate from the University of Zimbabwe’s Faculty of Social Science at a ceremony in September 2014.
The academics are calling for a full investigation into abuse of office, corruption and other maladministration practices as well as an immediate revocation, nullification and withdrawal of the PhD.
In the petition, the university staff said that it was a “shock” to see Ms Mugabe among the doctoral graduates.
“Most members ‘never (saw) or heard about the proposal, progress reports, thesis examiners and outcome’ of such a study by the candidate. In fact, all of the departmental board members heard about the graduation in the media and saw the pictures on the university calendar the following year,” it says, according to the report.
“In addition, at least the two chairpersons who were incumbents of office during the time when the candidate should have registered and worked on the PhD also ‘know nothing about it’…The awarding of the degree has therefore not gone through processes that other candidates are subjected to which makes the awarding of the degree very suspicious,” it adds.