HARARE (Reuters) - The University of Zimbabwe has published former First Lady Grace Mugabe's PhD thesis after an anti-corruption watchdog said it was investigating whether the wife of ousted President Robert Mugabe was wrongly awarded a doctorate three years ago.
Grace graduated in 2014, the same year she launched her career in the ruling ZANU-PF party, a power push that led ultimately to November's de facto coup by political rivals worried she was set to take over from her husband.
In contravention of its normal practice, the university did not publish her 226-page thesis, entitled "The changing social structure and functions of the family: The case of children's homes in Zimbabwe", until this week, when it was released on its website (ir.uz.ac.zw/handle/10646/3463).
It was not clear why Grace, who runs a children's home near her family dairy farm outside Harare, used her second name and maiden surname - Ntombizodwa G. Marufu - for the paper.
Grace Mugabe's "2014" thesis which was only made public in 2018 quotes in part paragraphs from a paper written in 2016, and shows overwhelming evidence of academic fraud writes Khuluma Afrika Editor in Chief @1changamire (@ZimMediaReview) @KhulumaAfrika https://t.co/ejmXho8YTg— Maynard Manyowa (@iAmKudaMaynard) January 26, 2018
I am on page 40 and do mot yet discern a "thesis", a proposition, a line of argument, a compelling analytical thread that is bringing all the literature and data together. ...i.e. a "thesis"— Khize wa maZambezi (@NomalangaSA) January 25, 2018
"I did not regard the study as being exploratory because thrrr was a body of existing literature on the subject. Rather, I regardnthe study as being a description and an explanation." 《 A doctorate must go far beyond description, it must add a whole new analytical exposition 😪— Khize wa maZambezi (@NomalangaSA) January 25, 2018
University of Zimbabwe vice chancellor Levi Nyagura did not respond to calls for comment.
There had been widespread speculation that Grace had been fraudulently awarded the doctorate, which was dedicated to her husband "because of his dedication and commitment to the well-being of the people of Zimbabwe".
But Grace, who was lauded as "learned mother of the nation" by adulating followers, defended her academic record, telling a ZANU-PF rally in September that she had earned her PhD when her detractors thought otherwise.
In its abstract, Grace acknowledged that one weakness of her research was that "some interviewees tended to tell me what they thought I wanted to hear".
Goodson Nguni, lead investigator at the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission, could not be reached for comment on whether the anti-graft agency would continue with its probe.
New President Emmerson Mnangagwa has made fighting corruption a top priority. Mnangagwa, 75, told the World Economic Forum in Davos this week Mugabe and his wife Grace had not been granted immunity from prosecution.