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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 April 2007, 11:03 GMT 12:03 UK
Motion to strip Mugabe of degree
Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe has been criticised for his rule of Zimbabwe
A campaign has been launched at Westminster to remove an honorary degree presented to Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe by Edinburgh University.

The degree was handed out 23 years ago for "services to education in Africa".

Nigel Griffiths, a former Labour minister, said he wanted it "swiftly withdrawn" in protest over Mr Mugabe's "oppressive and brutal regime".

A Commons motion, tabled by the former Edinburgh University student, expressed his "dismay" at the president.

He said Mr Mugabe had "reduced his people to poverty, a state of terror, and the brutal suppression of his political opponents".

The university's position is becoming increasingly untenable and he should indeed be stripped of the degree
Mark Ballard
Edinburgh University's rector,

Zimbabwe has the world's highest annual rate of inflation - 1,700% - and only one person in five is in full-time work.

Nigel Griffiths is a close ally of Gordon Brown, who was rector at the university while also a student.

The motion has been signed by fellow Labour MP Kate Hoey.

It was also supported by Edinburgh University's rector, Mark Ballard.

He said: "The university's position is becoming increasingly untenable and he should indeed be stripped of the degree.

"Members of the Alumni Association are gravely concerned at what this is doing to the reputation of the university - the university must act."

An Edinburgh University spokesman said: "The university is acutely aware of ongoing developments in Zimbabwe and the issue of Robert Mugabe's honorary degree remains under active review."


SEE ALSO
Living in Mugabe's Zimbabwe
18 Apr 07 |  Africa

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