Former finance minister denies involvement in Grace Mugabe’s PhD

Grace Mugabe

By Desmond Chingarande

Former minister of finance Tichaendepi Masaya has told court that there was no evidence in place that shows Ntombizodwa Grace Mugabe was favoured to attain her degree.

Masaya who is now farming in Nyanga after retiring from the University of Zimbabwe where he was dean of social studies told Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi under cross examination that he was appointed to the dean after Marufu had been admitted to the University.

The former minister who was the state witness in the case of former UZ vice chancellor Levi Nyagura told court that he only knew Marufu was on the list of people to be conferred a degree.

Nyagura is being accused of singlehandedly awarding former first Lady Grace Mugabe a PhD.

“I became a chairman and dean of social studies. I don’t know anything about the degree. But I know she was one of the names to be offered the degree,” Masaya said.

However Masaya said he did not receive any proposals for Ntombizodwa Marufu.

“I do not have evidence that Marufu was favoured or disfavoured. I was not yet appointed to the dean of faculty and l cannot dispute the deputy registrars letter to Marufu because she was the rightful person to write those letters,” Masaya further said.

Masaya said professor Claude Mararike was qualified to supervise students since he supervised some but he was under him at the department.

He further said he had no evidence that Nyagura interfered in the awarding of the PhD but was surprised how Marufu got the degree.

Nyagura is being represented by advocate Tawanda Zhuwarara.

The matter was postponed to May 27.

The State alleges that sometime in 2011, Nyagura undermined the authority of the UZ departmental board and the faculty of higher degrees committee and personally accepted and approved Grace’s application to study for a PhD in sociology which was against academic guidelines and values of the university.

He allegedly abused his position since Grace did not meet the minimum requirements to study for a PhD.

Grace was conferred with the PhD in 2014.