President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa has suspended under-fire University of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor Levi Nyagura with immediate effect following his controversial awarding of a “dubious” degree to former First Lady Grace Mugabe 2014.

In a letter dated August 16, Mnangagwa said Nyagura was being suspended with full benefits pending the finalisation of abuse of authority charges against him.

“Please be advised that His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe, being the appointing authority in terms of Section 8 of the University of Zimbabwe Act, Chapter (25:16) hereby suspends Professor Levi M Nyagura as the Vice Chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe pending the finalisation of his alleged charges of criminal abuse of office.

“The suspension is in terms of Section 340 (1)(f) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, read together with Section 28 of the Interpretation Act (Chapter 1:01) and is with immediate effect with full benefits,” Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda said on behalf of the President.

Grace, wife to former President Robert Mugabe, was awarded and Doctor of Philosophy degree in 2014 in a move that triggered protests from student activists who demanded the scrapping of the top academic award for lack of merit.

Nyagura was initially suspended by the University of Zimbabwe Council in February this year before he was arrested on allegations of abuse of authority over his conduct.

However, he continued to report for duty apparently at the behest of Higher Education Minister Amon Murwira.

The University of Zimbabwe boss allegedly led supervisors and examiners to Mugabe’s Mazowe orphanage, where the defence oral examination was purportedly done without the knowledge and approval of the academic committee while in actual fact, the examination is supposed to be done at the UZ premises.

In February, when Nyagura appeared in court, Harare magistrate Tilda Mazhande was told that the career academic single-handedly accepted Grace’s application to study for the PhD without the knowledge of the UZ’s sociology department.

The State further alleges that Nyagura appointed Professor Claude Mararike and Professor Chaneta to supervise Grace without the knowledge and approval of the department.

Nyagura is accused of usurping the powers of the UZ senate by single-handedly appointing examiners for Mugabe’s research in violation of the UZ Act chapter 25:16 and Ordinance 1998/99.

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