By Prosper Dembedza
The trial for suspended University of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor Levi Nyagura continued yesterday with one of the witnesses saying former First Lady Grace Mugabe was unprocedurally awarded a PhD degree.
Another witness said Mrs Mugabe’s under qualified supervisor was producing progress reports.
Professor Nyagura is accused of ensuring the PhD was awarded despite failure to follow the normal procedures, including not appointing a suitably qualified supervisor.
During cross examination by Nyagura’s lawyer Advocate Tawanda Zhuwarara, Mr Wilbert Sadomba, who had acted as chairman of the Department of Sociology responsible for overseeing those who would have enrolled for PhDs, told the court that he did not see anything related to Mrs Mugabe.
“I was once an acting chairman in the Sociology Department and my duties were to oversee those who would have enrolled for PhD and masters degrees, but I did not see anything that related to Mugabe when other students’ processes were being done,” he said.
Mr Sadomba said he was shocked to realise that Mrs Mugabe was conferred with a doctorate because her process was not done like that of any other student.
The department had written to responsible authorities so that the matter could be resolved after the anomaly was discovered.
Outlining the normal process, Mr Sadomba told the court that someone interested in pursuing a PhD at the University of Zimbabwe was supposed to approach the programme department, write a proposal of the PhD research and if this was accepted, a supervisor would be selected to assist that person.
None of those procedures were followed with Mrs Mugabe.
Mr Sadomba said Professor Claude Mararike was not selected by the board to supervise Mrs Mugabe and was not qualified to supervise a PhD candidate at that time since he was then a holder of only a master’s degree and had not completed his own doctorate research.
“There is now victimisation of people who raised this issue at the university and we are now living in fear,” he said.
The second witness, senior lecturer Julius Musevenzi, told the court that there were documents showing that other university staff members took part in admitting Mrs Mugabe as a student.
It was also revealed through Advocate Zhuwarara’s cross examination that there were university documents showing that Mrs Mugabe was conducting research and that progress reports were produced by Prof Mararike.