‘Zvobgo didn’t obtain PhD, and many Zimbabweans do not know this dirty little secret’

Review & Mail Writer

Controversial former Zanu-PF stalwart Edison Zvobgo neither attained a doctorate in laws, as widely believed, nor did he attend the prestigious Harvard law school in the United State of America, new information has surfaced.

Former Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara revealed this on social media as he shared the latest snippet of his memoirs, “In Search of the Elusive Zimbabweam Dream Volume III (Ideas and Solutions)” dealing with his time when he served in the inclusive Government headed by former President Robert Mugabe.

In the excerpt, he shares what he learnt about the nationalist struggle and the clashes of its protagonists during the 1970s characterised by “sordid escapades, petty jealousies and idiosyncrasies”.

 Zvobgo, a founding member of Zanu, negotiator at Lancaster House and an MP and minister after Independence, was reputed for sharp wit as well as contempt of former President Mugabe, whom he derided for lack of academic accomplishments – and more.

It is widely reported that Zvobgo mocked Mugabe for having five undergraduate degrees but never venturing for higher or postgraduate study.

Zvobgo himself was fabled to hold a PhD from Harvard; he did not complete his PhD thesis at another American university, Tufts, according to Mutambara.

“Incidentally, with respect to the PhD put-down, this is an academic qualification Zvobgo himself pursued in the United States but did not complete,” Mutambara writes.

“Many Zimbabweans do not know this dirty little secret.

“I meet Zvobgo’s Tufts University (Massachusetts, United States) PhD academic supervisor – Prof. Robert Rotberg – during my two stints at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States, in 1995 and 2000.

“He is clear and unequivocal on the matter. Rotberg says: “Every time I meet him [Zvobgo], I ask him: ‘Why do you go around calling yourself Dr Eddison Zvobgo?` and Zvobgo says to me: ‘But Prof, I almost finished it!’ Well, well, he did not complete his PhD. He can come and finish the doctorate if he wants to be known as a PhD. I will supervise him. I am still available as his PhD thesis advisor.”

“That is the position of Prof. Robert Rotberg, Zvobgo’s PhD supervisor.”

The expose reveals that Zvobgo did not read for his PhD at Harvard.

Zvobgo was an influential member of Zimbabwe’s first fully independent cabinet (from 1980) and Minister of Local Government and Housing until 1982, and Minister of Justice until 1985.

Other portfolios he held included Justice and Mines, as well as Non-Portfolio.

In 1987, he became Zimbabwe’s Minister of Parliamentary and Constitutional Affairs, and credited  for making several amendments to Zimbabwe’s Constitution.

He was also a Member of Parliament for Masvingo and a hotelier.

Zvobgo died on 22 August 2004 at the age of 68 and was buried at the National Heroes Acre.


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