University of Zimbabwe integrity at lowest ebb

All University of Zimbabwe (UZ) alumni must be bowing their heads in shame over the latest graduation ceremony that made a total mockery of the academic institution’s reputation.

NewsDay Editorial

Once the UZ was ranked with the best institutions of higher learning in Africa.

At independence in 1980, it was ranked higher than most universities in South Africa. People considered only the University of Nairobi in Kenya, Ibadan University in Nigeria and one or two others as better than the UZ.

Uganda’s Makerere University, once considered the best in
Africa, had been desecrated by the dictator Idi Amin Dada.
Amin was the President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979. He was the Chancellor of Makerere University during the same period. During his term, he conferred upon himself a Doctorate of Law. Not only did he not deserve the doctorate, but he also, by so doing, signalled and presided over, the institution’s phenomenal decline.

During his reign, members of the academic staff were slain and a huge number fled into exile.

The government stopped funding the institution and infrastructure collapsed. To date, Makerere is struggling to regain its status as one of the best universities in the world. It was once referred to as the “Oxford of Africa”.

The UZ has faced a similar fate. In the first 10 years of independence, it just about managed to maintain its standards. The academic staff was world-class, infrastructure was superb and its students prided themselves of belonging to the institution.

Then government funding began to drop. Senior appointments began to be made in government offices rather than by the University Council.

The institution became a political playing field. More and more military personnel of dubious academic achievement began to graduate with all sorts of degrees.

Some academics objected to this, but were detested. A case in mind is that of the late Dr John Makamure who refused to pass an underachieving government official in spite of the serious political pressure brought to bear upon him.

But academics of such impeccable integrity are hard to come by nowadays.

In the past, the most talked about low in the UZ’s academic history was when former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono, while chairman of the University Council, awarded himself an honorary doctorate.

That President Robert Mugabe was only too happy to cap him should have rung alarm bells to the effect that the institution’s reputation was going southwards.

Now it has reached a new low that just might be the straw that broke the camel’s back. After the debilitating years of the politico-economic crisis, UZ students and academic staff —and indeed everyone else — were beginning to hope that the institution could re-establish its former glory.

But senior politicians and government officials continue to undermine it by demanding degrees they don’t deserve and in some instances having doctoral theses written for them in record time.

The tragedy is that the current crop of academics teaching and running the institution don’t have the guts to protest. Sadly, all those who are working towards their doctorates — or any degree programme for that matter — at the institution, should know they are wasting their time because their achievement will not be recognised anywhere outside Zanu PF.

What is at stake is not just the UZ’s integrity, but also that of its staff and, by extension, that of the whole education system in Zimbabwe.


  1. Are you scared to name names? After pathetically fail exams for 8 years in a role and and ending up being chucked out of London UNiversity, Amai Mugabe came back with a bang by doing a doctorate in a world record breaking time of 4 months from registration against the well known minimum time of 3 years if you are extremely bright or up to 8 years if you are average Joe. Now we have Amai Dr first secretary of woman league first Lady Grace Mugabe.

    I just Love my Country zimbabwe. Who said Miracle no longer happen?

  2. What is the ranking of UZ now?

  3. @chipaz, just go to uz library ans ask for the thesis hardcopy to verify the truth. Its a requirement that once a thesis has been passed copies must be depositd in the library. Remember Martin Luther nailed his thesis on the door of the Church for everbody to see and read them. Amai was awarded a honorary doctorate and people must be told the truth as there is nothing wrong with it but if people discover the truth then thats very indeed .

  4. The truth nothing but the truth@ chipaz, just go to uz library ans ask for the thesis hardcopy to verify the truth. Its a requirement that once a thesis has been passed copies must be depositd in the library. Remember Martin Luther nailed his thesis on the door of the Church for everbody to see and read them. Amai was awarded a honorary doctorate and people must be told the truth as there is nothing wrong with it but if people discover the truth then thats very indeed .

  5. Are we saying these chaps did not sweat for their degrees akoman.Munoitirei shanje.Verengaiwo tione.Vana Chamisa vanawowo wani.Hapana chinoshamisa kuti Grace aita Doc kana MaMujuru.

  6. Tortis, yes Grace didn’t sweat for hers.. masters yacho akaitira kupi, ko first degree.. you think she would graduate zvorega kuiswa muherald, stop being naive

  7. i was thinking….if i register tomorrow paUZ do you think i will have a PhD by Xmas? ndine diploma retradititonal healing randakabva naro kuhondo.

    1. kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk samas ita mushe

  8. Yafa yaparadzwa UZ and by the same token our beloved Zim. Shuwa shuwa less than a year and someone is awarded a doctrate. Phuu zvakaora izvi. Just because she is the president’s wife. Hayiwa Nyagura inyini chaiyo neUZ counci yacho neZimche zvese

  9. ZvanaGrace zvanhasi. Madegree eku UZ akatanga kutengeswa kare. Ask a lot of Harareans. Yu can get yours on shelf izvozvi zvese natransxript. Many in have them in nursing engineering, medicine teaching. If yu have experience as a lay petson in a certain field yu can order or buy a degree. Even kumateacher training college kwese MSU, Gokwe University, Sorusi, Africa, Gwanda neNust even raunoda. Imbongo yako chete

    1. kikikikikiki….Taura hako

  10. Samanyika ndofunga izvozvi zvavakuita. Handiti makatobva kuhondo henyu. Hazvitonetsi. You are the only ones who deserve to be called Zimbabweans and by right you own it. Then add that you were a makumbi to Tangwena when he assisted Bob skip the country back then and presto. You are on your way to a Doctrate. Its very very possible. And be quick about it because I think the whole Mugabe clan is planning the same so you may fail to meet your december deadline kkkkkkkkkk serious

  11. haridi work experience here?vakamboseenza kupi

  12. wezhira wezhara wezhevehuru

    maone aya

  13. This degree of madness is totally unacceptable!!!!

  14. Doctorate of shame!!

  15. Zvekutsvaka Mwari tsvee pika pika mupolitics,tsvaka Mwari nguva ichipo iwe usiyane ne politics

  16. ngaa publishge thesis yake kana kuti auye timuitise vivah…..
    makudo ndemamwe

  17. If anyone still believed bob is a man of principle here is clear evidence to the contrary.Zanu pf is a 51 year old party and of all women who have joined and work for the party since then guess who is suitable to head the womens league yes you guessed it the dear leaders wife who was a mere salad teenager at independence. Who gets to do a PhD in record time? yep you guessed it again non other than mother herself. Principled my foot.

  18. Talk of gender affirmative action,gender equity and equality and non discrimination against women the stance taken by Mai Mujuru and Mai Mugabe are noble in archieving the above vital aspects of a modern day Zimbabwean Society. Why condemn the means where degree buying and corruption to get a pass is in every academic institution in Zimbabwe and is being done by any person from any social class,,,simply because they are women with significant posts in the ruling party. it about time Zimbabwe as a people desists from the habit of always looking at the negative things and start appreciating the good things. I view this article as gender discriminatory and a confidence crusher to women intending to empower theirselves through education. Congratulations Mai Mugabe and Mai Mujuru regardless of all this negativity i believe u have set a good example and thats what leaders should do.

  19. Saka iniwo negrade 7 ndinogona kutorawo PHD ka? kANA kuitwa professor ndisina thesis imwe zvayo. Ko vanhu muri kuurayirei nyika yedu zvakadai?

  20. Madegrees mathermometer stop lieing. You can fake a certificate and transcript, maybe even a real one @ UZ, but not at the other universities., Unobatwa if someone decides to confirm with the registrar of the institution. Haven’t there been stories of people being dismissed from work for faking certificates? Please speak truthfully.

  21. @Editor. It was the late John Makumbe, and not Makamure as your editorial states. Now are we questioning the standard at UZ because of the two ladies? What if they met all the requirements and merited their Phds? Smacks of jealousy.

  22. Ndiko kuparara kwenyika uku, iye mugabe kuzo kepa mukadzi wake zvinoreva kuti kana iye madegree ake ifake nekuti munhu akadzidza hangadaro, uye anonzwisisa madegree chaiwo ne fake, saka anawo ake efake. Grace angaite degree ripi zvaro ko iyo form 4 yacho akapassa here?

  23. Mugabe has just about run down everything.This barstadisation of UZ will not be without repercussion.

  24. These are sour grapes. The thing here is, this Journalist is not UZ educated. He is probably a product of one of these lowly rated Poly technical Colleges.

  25. Its painful to find out that when yu ar busy w assignments, someone z getting a Doctrate without 5 O Levels late alone honours degree, ndotoshaya kuti zvirikumbofambasei

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