University regrets giving doctorate to money printer

NEW YORK, June 21, 2007 (AFP) – The University of Massachusetts on Thursday rebuked Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who was awarded an honorary degree by the university in 1986. The university board cited in a statement Mugabe’s award of an honorary degree by the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1986 “for his actions as a ‘humane revolutionary’ who ended an oppressive white rule to establish an independent Zimbabwe in 1979.”

He has since been “scorned worldwide as a tyrannical dictator whose rule has been marked by intimidation, violence, fraud, and robbery,” the statement said.

It cited “his actions of seizing land from white commercial farmers and giving it to allies, while using the secret police to beat or kill opponents.”

“His actions have prompted observations of his having degenerated as a political leader and a human being and allowing in Zimbabwe the near disintegration of health, education, and other public services, and the worst inflation in the world,” the board said. “He has tried to crush opposition to his power and has threatened to expel Western envoys for criticizing his government,” said the board in condemning his actions.