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Chiyangwa accepts doctorate in Philippines

Honoured ... Chiyangwa (7th from right) after accepting honorary doctorate on Wednesday

03/04/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
Philippines trip ... Phillip Chiyangwa

PROPERTY tycoon Phillip Chiyangwa has accepted an honorary doctorate from a university in the Phillipines, dismissing critics who questioned the reputation of the institution.

Chiyangwa, accompanied by his wife, Elizabeth, and daughter, Ellen, was in attendance at the St Linus University’s graduation ceremony in Tarlac, a northern district of the Philippines, on Wednesday.

The university announced in December that Chiyangwa would be accorded a PhD in Business Leadership in recognition of his “business acumen and sterling contribution to society”, and the businessman flew halfway across the world to attend the graduation ceremony.

Joining him were 200 graduates drawn from across the world including countries like India, Singapore, Eastern Europe, China, the Caribbean, Africa and Australia. They picked up Bachelor’s degrees, Masters degrees and Doctoral certificates for courses conducted online.

The event was attended by the regional director of the commission on higher education Dr Virginia Akiate and members of the Philippines army who also graduated in various disciplines.

Following his honour, Chiyangwa was invited to give a speech.
"Business leadership is about overcoming fear,” he said. “Fearless people are true leaders, all we need is space."

Long walk ... Chiyangwa, his daughter Ellen and wife Elizabeth walk to University from hotel

He told New Zimbabwe.com from Hong Kong hours later that the president of St Linus University “wants to get the kids to learn from me”.

“I travelled there because after all, people in Zimbabwe need to know Philippinos are family and they share oppression of 300 years under Spain like we did with the British for 100 years,” said the businessman, famed for his flashy lifestyle.

“In my speech, I took them down the Affirmative Action road, through the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment laws to the land reforms championed by President Robert Mugabe. I also touched on entrepreneurship, as doing business in a changing world was my life's journey to the top.”


He said he was “extremely overwhelmed with the manner people here take everything to the highest levels of perfection”, adding: “I envy such hard work, it spins incredible results.”

Chiyangwa started off as a vegetable vendor, and clever investments – coupled with political connections, according to his critics – helped him to acquire a shoe company, an engineering firm and a massive property portfolio.

The Pinnacle Property Holdings boss, a former Zanu PF MP, was forced to defend the doctorate honour after criticism from a newspaper which claimed the doctorate was “dubious”.

During a visit to Chinhoyi recently, he told locals that he was a "doctor of money".

Linus University, whose headquarters are in the Dominican Republic, says on its website it “complies with all applicable national and international laws, regulations and generally accepted practices”.

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