Grace accused number one in fake degree saga, says Ncube’s MDC

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FORMER First Lady Grace must be arrested for her lead role in bring the University of Zimbabwe’s (UZ) reputation into disrepute because of the PHD degree awarded to her in 2014, Welshman Ncube’s MDC party has said.

In a statement last week, party spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi said the public saga over the degree has serious negative ramifications, not only the UZ but the education system as a whole.

“We have grave misgivings as to the handling of the scandal which has tarnished the integrity of Zimbabwe’s education system,” said Chihwayi.

“We are aware that the court heard in 2011 how (Vice Chancellor Levy) Nyagura approved Grace’s application without the knowledge and recommendations of the departmental board and faculty of higher degrees committee.

“That was in violation of UZ quality assurance guidelines and benchmark.”

While the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has announced UZ vice chancellor over the saga, Grace is not a subject of investigations.

However, the MDC argues that the former first lady should be “accused number one” in the criminal trial.

“As MDC, it is our conviction that the real culprit here is Grace Mugabe. We believe she initiated the whole embarrassing academic scandal.

“In our view Grace is accused number one,” said Chihwayi.

With President Emmerson Mnangagwa having declared an all-out war against corruption, Ncube’s party is demanding that he bites the proverbial bullet.

“For him to be taken seriously, the President must walk the talk and relevant anti-corruption units in his government must act and retour the country’s proud academic history.

“This habit of selective application of justice should immediately stop,” said the MDC.

The opposition party said the reported investigation by ZACC into lecturer Claude Mararike is a wild goose chase and a waste of money.

Mararike is accused of having masqueraded as Grace’s supervisor in the sordid saga.

“We feel these developments on the ground point to a ZACC that cannot exhibit fair play and casts doubt on the genuineness of the anti-corruption unit in stamping out corruption.

“We are demanding the arrest of Grace Mugabe as this will prove to the nation that no one is above the law,” said Chihwayi.

Failing that, Mnangagwa must dissolve ZACC and appoint “competent and non-compromised people who will diligently carry out their mandate without fear or favour”.

Former President Robert Mugabe was at the weekend quoted as having said Grace worked hard to get the degree but was now being needlessly harassed by the Mnangagwa government.