Zimbabwean writer Chenjerai Hove has called on First Lady Grace Mugabe to hand back her PhD.
The wife of President Robert Mugabe was awarded a doctorate from the University of Zimbabwe last month.
There has been confusion over when Grace Mugabe enrolled, with some sources saying it was only two months ago – and students want the issue investigated.
The university authorities have not yet commented on the controversy.
A graduate and faculty member of the University of Zimbabwe, award-winning novelist and poet Chenjerai Hove, who is living in Norway, said he had written to the vice-chancellor to demand an explanation.
“I have lost the pride and prestige of being a former student of the university which you head since our academic degrees have now become a laughing stock,” Chenjerai Hove says in the letter.
Chenjerai Hove’s remarks come as the Zimbabwe National Students Union prepares to file a court application on October 2 demanding that the University of Zimbabwe provide details about how the first lady came to be awarded the degree.
Amongst the concerns expressed by students is the fact that the first lady’s thesis is not available in the university’s library, as would be usual.
Grace Mugabe was awarded the doctorate in sociology by her husband – who is the chancellor of the university – at a ceremony on September 12 not long after she was endorsed to lead the governing Zanu-PF women’s wing.
Chenjerai Hove, an outspoken critic of President Robert Mugabe’s government, said the university needed to be more transparent about the apparent fast-tracking of the first lady’s degree.
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