PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe did not mark his wife’s PhD and any suggestions he did are “childish and inherently preposterous”, information minister Jonathan Moyo has said.
Moyo accused the media of misrepresenting outgoing Zanu PF Women’s League secretary Oppah Muchinguri when she was quoted saying the veteran leader “marked” Grace Mugabe’s Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) dissertation.
Grace was conferred with a PhD by the University of Zimbabwe in September, torching a media storm following allegations she graduated barely two months after registering with the institution.
And, according to reports, the First Lady’s thesis, said to be titled, ‘The Changing Social Structure, the Functions of the Family: The Case of Children’s Homes in Zimbabwe’ is not available at the UZ which has also ignored calls to reveal Grace’s supervisor, the local examiners and the external examiner who validated her work.
Muchinguri inadvertently added fire to the controversy when she told a rally at the First Lady’s Mazowe compound that the president, who is chancellor of all State universities, marked his wife’s work.
“Amai Mugabe spent sleepless nights studying for her PhD while President Mugabe marked for her,” Muchinguri was quoted as saying.
But Moyo defended his cabinet colleague, accusing the media of taking Muchinguri’s remarks out of context “in the hope of not just smearing the First Lady but making money and taking people for a ride in the process”.
What Muchinguri meant, Moyo, an academic and former UZ professor explained, is that the president was “reading (Grace’s) drafts and commenting on them”.
He added: “It is common practice for any writer, including in the media, to ask colleagues, siblings, spouses or friends to comment on their drafts.
“Those comments are always intended to improve the work and not to pass or fail it. This kind of ‘marking’ is so common as not to deserve the status of breaking news. It involves giving comments and not marks or points or grades.
“Actually even supervisors of PhD students, which I have been on occasions too many to count, give comments and not marks.
“Only internal and external examiners of PhD students give marks which are not comments but are points or grades to determine whether one has passed or failed.
‘’Any suggestion that President Mugabe was a UZ internal or external examiner of the First Lady’s dissertation is inherently preposterously and the claim that the President marked the dissertation in the technical sense can only make news on Mars.”
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