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Students Demand President Mugabe's Honorary Degrees Be Revoked

Universities in the United States and Britain that gave President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe honorary degrees decades ago are under pressure to revoke them.

Students at the University of Massachusetts, Michigan State University and Edinburgh University in Scotland want their schools to take back the degrees, one group saying President Mugabe “has become a scourge of his people and Africa.”

The University of Massachusetts awarded Mr. Mugabe an honorary degree in 1986, hailing him as a “revolutionary.” It has awarded such degrees to former South African President Nelson Mandela and just-retired U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Commenting on the revocation movement, the Washington representative of the Movement For Democratic Change faction of Morgan Tsvangirai, Handel Mlilo, said Mr. Mugabe never should have received the honorary degrees never should have been given in light of early-1980s ethnic-based killings in Matebeleland.

University of Massachusetts spokesman William Wright said the school's board has not received a revocation petition yet, but will consider it when it is submitted.

Executive Director Farai Maguwu of the Civic Alliance for Democracy and Governance said the movement in academia to reproach Mr. Mugabe is significant.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...