University official suspended ‘for giving Robert Mugabe wrong-sized cap’

Assistant registrar of the University of Zimbabwe claims that president’s mortarboard ‘fitted perfectly well’

November 3, 2015
Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe

A senior official at the University of Zimbabwe has been suspended for allegedly giving Robert Mugabe the wrong sized graduation cap.

Assistant registrar, Ngaatendwe Takawira, is accused of breaking labour laws by providing a mortarboard that was too small for Mr Mugabe, the country’s president and the chancellor of the university, at graduation ceremonies in 2014 and 2015.

This year’s graduation ceremony was delayed for 45 minutes while the university tried in vain to find a replacement hat, causing an “embarrassing situation for the chancellor and the vice-chancellor”, Ms Takawira’s suspension letter says.

But Ms Takawira has denied wrongdoing and has gone to Zimbabwe’s high court in a bid to have the disciplinary proceedings dismissed, according to local media.

She says that she was not responsible for arranging Mr Mugabe’s headgear and that the cap in question had, in fact, “fitted perfectly well”. She also claims that Mr Mugabe’s office had indicated that he was too busy to try caps on ahead of the ceremonies.

A BBC report suggested that the decision to suspend Ms Takawira “was probably taken by university authorities keen to appease the president and not from any genuine anger on his part”.

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