MANY may have dismissed Philip Chiyangwa’s recent doctorate awarded to him by the rather dubious Dr Enrico Sibanda-led International Institute of Philanthropy.
However, the colourful businessman-cum-politician has no qualms about being addressed as doctor based on the degree’s merit. In fact he is ‘ecstatic’ at having received the accolade.
The award is Chiyangwa’s second after he was last year given an honorary PhD in Business Leadership by a university in the Philippines which also has a questionable reputation.
When quizzed about the latest award, the flamboyant Phil said: “Yes I do, very much (recognise the doctorate). I am ecstatic.”
He was awarded an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters by an institution which has given more honorary degrees at a rate more generous dishing out confetti at a wedding.
But the International Institute of Philanthropy has been labelled dubious and lacks credibility in academic circles.
The Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (ZIMCHE) has dissociated itself from the institution and has labelled their honorary awards suspect as it is not registered.
But Chiyangwa says the thought behind the doctorates far outweighs the feelings of the cynics.
“For me it’s more of the fact that I am heartily recognized for my philanthropic work (sic). More than the certificate is the work was done, is being done, continues to be done (sic),” said the business maverick.
Recently, the institution handed a doctorate in Humane Letters to popular prophet’s wife Ruth Makandiwa as well as prolific musician Oliver Mtukudzi.
Tuku accepted the accolade in a development which proved to be a public relations and brand faux pas when it was revealed that the institution and its certificates were less credible than a kindergarten graduation certificate.
Oliver quietly did not adopt the title of Doctor until he was awarded a more credible honorary doctorate by a recognised Masvingo-based university recently and capped by the state president at the graduation ceremony.
But with everybody including the rabble-rousing First Lady Grace Mugabe waking up with doctorates, it is hardly surprising that it is the season for earning the title ‘doctor’ in Zimbabwe.Advertisement
In the same ‘mickey mouse’ as graduation with Chiyangwa, the wife of ZRP Commissioner Isabel Chihuri was made the institution’s patron while social sexologist, radio personality and church founder Amai Lucia Gunguwo also walked away with her own doctorate from IIP.
And yet with ZIMCHE arguing that a certificate printed on toilet paper is more worthy of more respect than the doctorates earned via the IIP, it remains to be seen whether serious institutions will recognise the title conferred upon Chiyangwa and his associates.
On the other hand, the controversial head of the institution, Enrico Sibanda, is not done yet and is undeterred as he will defiantly dole out more doctorates before year end in South Africa and Nigeria.