'Mugabe is an achiever'

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe "does not lose sleep" over being stripped of honorary degrees by several top Western universities as a result of human rights abuses by his government.

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe "does not lose sleep" over being stripped of honorary degrees by several top Western universities as a result of human rights abuses by his government.

His spokesman George Charamba was quoted yesterday as saying Mugabe already had seven degrees earned through his own efforts, sufficient for his needs, he said.

"It is not like the president suffers a crisis of achievement.

"He has seven solid degrees, which are more than enough to earn him a living and recognition," said Charamba.

"He does not lose sleep over these threats."

Independent websites say moves are afoot to petition Edinburgh University in Scotland as well as the University of Massachusetts and Michigan State University in the US to strip Mugabe of honorary degrees they gave him in the 1980s and 1990s.

One Scottish MP was reportedly preparing a dossier to present to university officials on reasons why Mugabe should face the punitive action.

Mugabe's government has come under heavy criticism internationally for its crackdown on opposition activists as the country's economic crisis, marked by spiralling inflation, food shortages and worsening poverty, mounts.

But Charamba said: "The president did not accost anyone to confer honours on him."

If anything, those Western universities improved their international profile by associating themselves with the president, he said. - Sapa-dpa

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