(FILES) This file photo taken on June 02, 2017 shows Zimbabwe first lady Grace Mugabe addressing the crowd during a Zimbabwe ruling party Zimbabwe African National Union Ð Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) youth rally at Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera. South African police on August 15, investigated an alleged assault by the Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe on a model who was in a hotel in Johannesburg with her two sons. Grace Mugabe is alleged to have attacked Gabriella Engels, 20, with an extension cord on August 13, leaving her with wounds on her forehead and on the back of her head./ AFP PHOTO / Jekesai NJIKIZANA
Zimbabwe’s anti-corruption agency is investigating whether former first lady Grace Mugabe was wrongly awarded a university doctorate more than three years ago, an official said on Tuesday.
Grace, whose efforts to take over the leadership of the ruling ZANU-PF party prompted a de facto military coup against her husband, then-president Robert Mugabe, in November, graduated in 2014, just months after she had registered to study at the University of Zimbabwe.
Up to now, her dissertation for the doctorate has not been published and is not available in the university library, as such academic qualifications usually are.
“We indeed received a report from the sociology department at the university on how Grace Mugabe received her doctorate and that is what we are investigating,” said Goodson Nguni, the head of investigations at the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.
Local media reports say the sociology department told the commission that Grace’s doctorate was “suspicious” and needed to be investigated.
Grace, who was called “Dr Amai” – or “learned mother of the nation” – by adulating followers, has previously defended her academic record and last September told a ZANU-PF rally that she had earned her doctorate even though her detractors thought otherwise.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was on the receiving end of vicious attacks by Grace last year, succeeded 93-year-old Mugabe as president in November.
Grace has not appeared in public since Nov. 15, when army tanks rolled into the capital and confined Mugabe and his family at his luxurious mansion in Harare.