Dr Grace’s academic triumph

In these difficult times for Zimbabwe the Vigil is awed by the academic triumph of the First Lady – now to be known not just as Mother of the People but also as Doctor.

Zimbabweans at the Vigil in London last Saturday.
Zimbabweans at the Vigil in London last Saturday.

Her new title is not a mere honorary doctorate such as the dozens showered on her husband. Those ceremonial honours are mere ornaments compared to a real doctorate earned after original scholarly research. Grace’s degree is such a doctorate and our ailing people, in their time of need, can now call for help on a real doctor.

One could see the pride on Mugabe’s face as he gently conferred the Doctor of Philosophy degree on his young bride at a ceremony at our premier university. There was not the slightest sense that he felt outdone by Dr Grace’s superior academic qualification; just a contented feeling that he was handing over the baton to someone academically qualified for the highest office.

And what could be more appropriate than the subject of her learned thesis ‘The changing social structure of the family: the case of children’s homes in Zimbabwe’. What could be of greater importance than the future of our millions of orphans? They must be the worst-affected of the 72% of the population which, according to a recent report by the World Food Programme, are living below the poverty line.

Few could deny that Dr Grace is qualified on such a subject. She may have only achieved 7% in her BA English course ‘Approaches to Text’ and 9% for ‘Explorations in Literature’, but that was at a British university and before she acquired her vast and ever-expanding orphanage holdings in Mazowe. As the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe Professor Levy Nyagura suggested at the graduation ceremony ‘illegal sanctions have a lot to answer for’.

What must be acknowledged is that her mastery of orphanages is extraordinary and it is no surprise that she was able to complete her doctoral dissertation in the two months since she registered for the degree. While the President slept, she would have burnt the midnight oil thinking philosophically after putting the orphans safely to bed.

ROHR President Ephraim Tapa, just back from 12 days in Zimbabwe, said the use of Grace, possibly hand in hand with former Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, was a ploy by Mugabe to play off the rival Mujuru / Mnangagwa factions against each other. Tapa was speaking at a lively meeting of the bi-monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Vigil, which was attended by the Chair of Zapu Europe Christopher Maphosa and Zapu activist Arthur Molife.

He said he had found a dispirited people who had lost faith in politics but were ready to respond to human rights issues in a country with a vast disparity between the rich and poor. He said MDC Renewal leaders had told him they were working towards unity with other groups such as Zapu, Welshman Ncube, the NCA and Simba Makoni.

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