BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Suspended University of Zimbabwe vice-chancellor Levi Nyagura has insisted that the doctor of philosophy (PhD) degree he allegedly awarded to former First Lady Grace Mugabe single-handedly remains valid until current chancellor and President Emmerson Mnangagwa revokes it.
Nyagura’s defence led by Advocate Sylvester Hashiti has since placed a notice to subpoena Mnangagwa, his predecessor, Robert Mugabe and Grace to testify in the matter.
The suspended UZ boss, who appeared before magistrate Estere Chivasa, submitted an application of exception to the charges yesterday, saying there was no offence since the State failed to consider important facts on the awarding of the degree.
The suspended vice-chancellor said the degree in question remains extant and its validity cannot be put in question by criminal process since section 7 of the University of Zimbabwe Act reposes the power to rescind and set aside degrees in the chancellor.
“The charges by the State fail to consider three important facts. Firstly, the PhD in question remains extant. Its validity cannot be put in question by criminal process.
Section 7 of the University of Zimbabwe Act reposes the power to rescind and set aside degrees in the chancellor,” Nyagura submitted.
Nyagura further said Mnangagwa had not yet revoked the degree in question and former chancellor Robert Gabriel Mugabe approved and conferred the degree and it remains valid at law and as such the process by which it was conferred remains valid.
He submitted that the matter was administrative and had no criminal sanction. He further said the case had no complainant and the wrong remedies have been pursued since the criminal court has no jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
The State represented by Michael Chakandida and Tapiwa Godzi has not yet responded to Nyagura’s application.
Allegations are that sometime in 2011, Nyagura single-handedly accepted and approved an application by Ntombizodwa G Marufu (Grace’s maiden name) to study a PhD in sociology without the knowledge and recommendations of the departmental board and faculty of higher degrees committee in violation of UZ quality assurance, guidelines and benchmark.
It is alleged that during the same period, Nyagura covertly appointed Professors Claude Mararike and one Chaneta to supervise Marufu’s thesis without the knowledge and approval of the departmental board who are mandated to accept the applications and allocate it to supervisors to students in terms of general academic regulations.
The State alleges Nyagura usurped the powers of senate by single-handedly appointing examiners to assess Marufu’s research in violation of the UZ Act chapter 25:16 and Ordinance 1998/99 volume which gave prerogative to senate.
Nyagura allegedly led supervisors and examiners to Marufu’s Mazowe Estate where the defence oral examinations was purportedly done without the knowledge and approval of the academic committee while in actual fact the oral examination was supposed to be done at the UZ premises.