HARARE – Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has just been named scholar of the century by the African Council for Distance Education.
Mugabe has a string of honorary degrees to his name.
His wife, Grace, was recently granted a doctorate despite only reportedly spending a few months at varsity.
Grace was awarded a PhD from the University of Zimbabwe in September but there’s been much speculation the degree was given hastily and fraudulently.
Zimbabwe’s Higher Education Minister, Olivia Muchena, claims there’s no recorded leader in world history who’s scaled such academic heights.
Muchena was speaking at a ceremony yesterday to present Mugabe with the scholar of the century award.
President Mugabe went to St Francis Xavier’s Kutama College, which was then headed by an Irish Priest Father Jerome O’Hea.
A “bookworm” throughout his entire childhood, the President qualified as a teacher and then studied at Fort Hare University in South Africa, graduating in 1951 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
President Mugabe then studied in Salisbury (Harare) in 1953 and Gweru in 1954, before leaving for Tanzania from 1955 to 1957.
He subsequently earned six further degrees through distance learning including a Bachelor of Administration and Bachelor of Education from the University of South Africa.
President Mugabe also acquired Bachelor of Science in Economics, Master of Science in Economics, Bachelor of Laws, Master of Science and Master of Laws degrees from the University of London (External).
The two Law degrees were earned while incarcerated and the Master of Science degree was attained during his tenure as the country’s premier.
State ZBC television said the 90-year-old leader hadn’t actually finished his Master’s Degree in education but he did have seven other degrees.
Few people doubt Mugabe’s academic prowess, though his opponents and students in Zimbabwe are still not entirely convinced by his wife’s PhD.
Zimbabwe’s information minister criticised reports claiming the leader graded his wife’s PhD thesis.
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said claims that the Zimbabwean president had a hand in awarding Grace’s degree are preposterous.
He told the official Herald newspaper that Mugabe was merely commenting on her draft thesis.
Outgoing head of the Zanu-PF Women’s League Oppah Muchinguri told a rally earlier this week that the first lady had spent sleepless nights working on her PhD while Mugabe marked it.