Grace Mugabe gains Phd in orphanages


Heather Saul
Tuesday 17 February 2015 10:53 GMT
Robert Mugabe with his wife Grace
Robert Mugabe with his wife Grace (EPA)

Grace Mugabe has graduated from the University of Zimbabwe with a Phd in orphanages, fuelling speculation the Zanu PF leader’s wife could be edging her way towards national politics.

Analysts say news of her doctorate could be the latest sign she may seek to follow in her controversial husband Robert Mugabe’s footsteps.

Now armed with a Phd, a seat in the ZANU-PF politburo and her 90-year-old husband's ear at home, Grace has become a political force as the battle hots up to succeed the only leader Zimbabwe has known since independence in 1980.

In August, the 49-year-old told crowds in Mazowe, Zimbabwe, “the time has come to show people what I am made of,” as she was announced as the leader of the ZANU PF women’s league.

According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, Ms Mugabe’s thesis was on the changing social structure and functions of the family. The report said she chose the topic “because she was interested in issues affecting children in Zimbabwe” and runs the Grace Mugabe Children’s Home there.

Her doctorate was obtained at the same university where her husband is chancellor, who has seven degrees to his name.

A source at the University of Zimbabwe told The Zimbabwean: "This is a political conferment. A lot of politically connected individuals have been getting free degrees here and at other state universities.”

The University declined to comment on the reports but a source there told Reuters she enrolled for a masters in 2011 and her tutor considered her research to be "ground-breaking and contributing enormously to the body of knowledge" so it was upgraded to a doctorate.

Her qualification was celebrated in ZANU-PF, where it was also taken as a sign of her rising prominence.

"It was not given. It was acquired quietly without her telling the world," ZANU-PF Member of Parliament Justice Mayor Wadyajena said a day after her graduation.

"Women, youths and chiefs say to Dr. Mugabe, the sky is the limit."

Known for her European shopping sprees and the EU sanctions placed on her in 2002, Mrs Mugabe is a divisive first lady.

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