Don’t be egg shelled, Malawi academia told

Legal issues commentator and Justice Link Executive Director Justin Dzonzi has backed the remarks by President Peter Mutharika call for university lecturers to “concentrate on research [and] not commenting on public trivia”, saying the Malawi leader and Chancellors of the University of Malawi (Unima) was right.

Dzonzi:  Research remarks OK

Dzonzi: Research remarks OK

The President said good universities are known by their research; hence, he asked college lecturers and professors to raise the profile of Unima with research.

The remarks were made during Unima fundraising dinner and dance at the Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe on Saturday night and attracted a wrath of negative reaction from Unima dons.

But Dzonzi said “at a pure intellectual level, the President being an intellectual himself there is nothing wrong with the statement.”

“If we are to going to start invention, if we are to come up with new ideas and so on and so forth then the universities are better places to begin that process now” said Dzonzi.

He explained that historically, local universities have produced very little in terms of new ideas in technology in different specialty areas and this could be as a result of lack of the spirit of research in the university.

“If you look at universities in other countries they have registered major break troughs in medicine, in law in and in whatever field most of the ideas have come from universities. I think the sentiments from the head of state were made in good faith and it is within his mandate to remind these institutions that they just don’t exist to provide jobs for those who teach or just qualifications for those who go there to learn, institutions that must develop ideas and be on top of research,” he said.

Dzonzi however said the reaction from the academic may have been triggered with the academic freedom fight keeping in mind that, that happened when Mutharika was Minister of Education.

“One can also understand the reaction from the university but I think our university experts should not be egg shelled, they should expect that the public is going to exert certain demands on them and they must live up to the billing because they are an institution that must develop to Malawi and is right to remind them”, said Dzonzi.

In 2011 when he was serving as minister of Education, Science and Technology, Mutharika was accused of indecisiveness after lecturers at Unima downed tools, demanding academic freedom after a spy was allegedly planted in a political science class and reported lecture examples to authorities.

Malawi Human Rights Commissioner Benedicto Kondowe said while there was nothing wrong with Mutharika remarks on research, his remarks dissuading the academia from commenting on important matters, was unacceptable.

Kondowe said Mutharika’s gagging remarks could “simply hinge on academic freedom that lecturers have.”

Government spokesman Kondwani Nankhumwa has the President does not regret making the research remarks.

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47 thoughts on “Don’t be egg shelled, Malawi academia told”

  1. Please you people with moron in your heads. Have you ever heard government mentioning of increasing the funds to 901 billion malawi kwacha so that 100 billion is ear marking institution of higher learning especially in the area of research? They (lecturers) are not supposed to go into their pocket in order to conduct research. Mr Dzonzi you can not ask your wife why has she not cooked beef today when you know that you did not leave money for the same. Ichi ndiye chikanundu chachikulu kwabasi.

  2. kene wa kene says:

    Malawi, from the research point of view, is not fully explored in terms of research opportunities, yet our universities seems not to take this opportunities despite having so many learned proffesors and ph.d holders. As a result what you see them involved in are petty talk-talks. No wonder media reporters always target at them as sources of opinions of trivial issues! This is shameful for our universities! I totally agree that our universities should spend their energies on productive and relevant research. Makamaka ndimaona kuti aziphunzitsi a ku chanco ndiye ali patsogolo in entertaining trivialities than the other universities.

  3. Andrew E. Mtambo says:

    Thanks Dzonzi, it was thought provoking article.

  4. Biketi Edwin says:

    We have to focus on education and leave our defferences

  5. Bubu says:

    The two issues should not have been said together: Do research and stop commenting on trivial things. The two dont go hand in hand.

    He should either have shouted at the Professor to stop trivia things, since he has funded them enough to do good research. How can a Prof in rightful thinking not do research if he had funded the UNIMA for such? Shooting ones own foot.

  6. wankulu says:

    Thats right Dzonzi, these lecturers should focus on research. This was a great opportunity for them to push the president to establish a research fund. Instead, they chose to be defensive. These so called intellectuals are good at pointing out other peoples` problems. How can you grow intellectually if you don`t accept criticism? wake up!

  7. sei says:

    May be the president being the chancellor should have communicated his vision and commitment towards research through a strategy paper and not through public pronouncements. The paper would have carried all the necessary details to achieve his vision including the issue of resources. That what leaders of organisations do isn’t it!

  8. Yahudah says:

    Educated fools. Graduating thieves, murderers,liars, whores, idolators, adulterers, simple, foolish, slanderers, jezibel, drunkard, ahab, oppressors, extortionists, liars, deciever, thieves, child molesters.

  9. Optic Computer says:

    I don’t think polical science and law lecturer can do research on global warming and ignore roles of MPs and ward councillors. I don’t think lecturers who comment on political and social issues are in engineering departments. Kupulumukira mkamwa mwa mbuzi.

  10. Nana says:

    As much as the president might have said it in good faith but the gvt is the culprit because all public universities lack adequate funds to do innovative research since gvt has its priorities upside down. For instance, we have seen that gvt is ready to bail out some unpatriotic citizens who defaulted loans instead of funding universities to do innovative research. I know some pipo would say lecturers should write proposals and get donor funding, but personally i think that would never bring the much needed change. if we need real change in our universities its high time gvt should start funding them adequately and not like what is happening now where gvt only give enough money to carter for salaries and day to day classwork. Let gvt come up with long-term plans and tell the institutions that we will fund u accordingly for such a period to do meaningful research coupled with commercial ideas. thereafter our universities should be self-sustaining with regard to research funds. It is high time we come out of the slumber and realize that we cannot develop our institutions with donor funds neither can we develop this nation with the same.

  11. Namisako. says:

    Start research now! Let me show you a stating point, GONDOLOSI AS A POTENTIAL FOREX EARNER. Pemphami ndarama,tiyeni fufuzani, mmalo momangomwa bibida,chamba ndi kumakwera ana aeni mmakolejimu.Timakudziwanitu,muyaluka.Pangani zinthu zoti dziko lione osati zomayanika ma PhD mma newspaper mu.

  12. ANDREW MTAMBO says:

    Neither the president was wrong inthe statement nor the lecturers to express their sentiments. What is needed is mutual understanding,unless if it is politics.

  13. ANDREW MTAMBO says:

    I am of the opinion that APM was asking the intellectual elite to come foward with lasting solutions to problems Malawi is currently facing eg.climatic change,migration to the south etc.Just to agree on somebody’s view, our system of education is producing more of the workers than researchers.Let’s change our mindset onthe outcome of our system of education.

  14. Rich nduna says:

    Ndiye dzonzi sangakhale ndi mzeru kumuposa kamchedzera or kanyongolo? Kanyongolo or kamchedzera wanuyo anangofikira ku university? Osawafunsa kuti aphunzitsidwa ndi anthu angat!! Dzonzi ndi deal!!! Ma lecture awa siwophunzira ndichifukwa chake maphunziro ake ali no 99/100.ndipo ma lecture amenewa akanakhala amzeru ndibwenzi akumapita ku church ndikumakamumvera m’busa wolekera form 2??????? Osazifunsa bwanj

  15. chatonda says:

    Guys, what does this Nankhumwa doing? He is in for blunders all the time. What qualifications does he have? Why cant Peter Mutharika dismiss him?

  16. knowkeep says:

    Agwa nayo iyi yokha ma lecturer – they are not producing any research worth it’s name. napepe koma trivia wachuluka ku unima and wina ndi uyu angopanga phokoso mu parliament mayi kabwila and bambo molande angopanga umzwanya wa dpp

  17. ppk says:

    For me the university lecturers are not saying the president was wrong in saying that lecturers need to concentrate on research. They are okay with this. What they are saying is the president was wrong in saying the lecturers waste time commenting in trivia public issues because the lectures can’t see any trivia that has preoccupied them. I agree with them. Secondly, the presidents comment could be misunderstood to mean that lecturers need not comment on public issues which is incorrect. So the president shoots have been a little more careful in his statement!

  18. Pichi says:

    I think PM adati commenting on TRIVIA issues. Ngati sachita comment on trivial issues zikuwapweteka chani? Its true Malawian Universities have little to show on research. Koma ma comment ndiye hee. Political analsysts khaya kuli angati adachita political science mpaka Phd level? I need to be educated on that.

  19. nachisale says:

    UNIMA lecturers who can’t do research and publish SHOULD PACK UP and GO. Kuzolowera kuchita comment nkhani za m`basi. FOTSEKI! mumaphunzitsa ma students zenizeni koma? –
    Thats why of quality education is low because you are concentrating on giving opinions m`manyuzi ndipawailesi. Take the advice and change into GENUINE academics osati nyasi tikuzionazi. Ndipo musayelekeze kukokera the president`s advice into Academic Freedom kuti mutionengele tsogolo la ana athu ndima strike. Paja mumaziona ngati ophunzira ndinu nokha.

  20. edda mwalweni says:

    A Dzonzi timkakuyesani kuti muli ndi nzeru, koma hoo!!!!!

  21. Justin Dzodzi says:

    Ngati wadya sikono iwe Justin its better to remain quit. Ndimayetsa Law waphunzitsidwa ndi Dr Kamchedzera ndi Prof E Kanyongolo iwe. Ndiye lero ukutukwana chala chomwe chinakudyetsa phala. Ndiwe Chindere eti.

  22. Jelbin mk says:

    You are too stupid can a prostitute or wachiwaya know what trivia is????

  23. BigMan says:

    The reaction of these clowns in gowns is absolutely pathetic. No wonder their oversee one of the worst academic institutions in Africa.

  24. Kalusha says:

    I think these so called “rude university professors” or is it “public commentators” want is to be egg-shelled like our distinguished and honorable “worships/lordships” in the judiciary who are protected species, you can’t reason or comment against them or else….

  25. Ochibwe says:

    So the university dons only find it fare and amusing to advise the president and government where something is amiss but not the other way round? What hypocrisy! Are they always right in everything they do/say/think?

    This country can only develop if we embrace a free-society mindset where everyone is free to criticize or point out weaknesses in others. This is a weakness the president has identified and rightly advised on. But what does he get, redicule and all sorts of bad mouthing from the university dons. Eish, now I don’t see the difference between the dons and their students that verbally abuse us whenever they ride their buses in town.

    I rest my case

  26. Tuntufye says:

    So the university dons cannot be advised? I find nothing with the president’s remarks “to spend more time on research other than wasting time commenting on any public issues some of which is indeed trivia”. It is not surprising that almost all the dons that have reacted negatively are from one college, CHANCO. It is also the same college lecturers that that always comment on anything even those outside their training and expertise. Take the flood disaster issue for instance, how come a political/history/economics/law lecturer starts lambasting government and making technical/engineering proposals do away with the flood problem once and for all? Izi sichimodzimodzi za a TB Jushua kumangosanjika ma story ambirimbiri pa hostel ya synagogue wawo uja kenako nkupha nazo anthu?

    The president is right. Let the lecturers do what matters in their job first than trying to be popular and a jack of all trades, nay, it doesn’t work.

  27. Harrison says:

    The president was at fault, he is the leader of the Universities in Malawi. If his statement was sober I believe he would have channelled enough resources for research and then acuse the lecturers of not utilizing the Funds. But out of the blues there he goes….bla bla bla zauchitsiru

  28. Feta says:

    if APM is serious about this he must prove it by providing the resource! otherwise his advice construe to trivia!

  29. Namate says:

    Universities do research when are well supported (funded)- Go to our universities and check in their Libraries there are no books. Laboratories not having even a simple apparatus. Students only learn theory. So do not blame academicians if they are not doing any research.The question should how are they supported in the field of research. Those universities are high in ranking how much money do they invest in research almost thrice the entire budget of the country. In our case these are Glorified secondary schools. Forget about research in our universities so let them do what they feel it is good for country.

  30. Che Sipindulo says:

    Dzonzi and APM are being disingenuous: Research does not happen without funds. We benefit a lot from products invented in the West because they provide adequate funds for research and development. Here in Malawi even the funding for recurrent activities is inadequate; how can then one expect research and development to take place?

    Even the national budget that is currently being debated in Parliament is woefully short on the development side. We priotise subsidizing maize and funding state residencies. (Apparently APM wants to build a banguenting hall at State House; as if Kamuzu would not have provided for this). Why not give these funds to the university for research?

    As a country we should avoid assuming that things just happen on their own. We should provide our experts with the resources that they need, only then can we denigrate them when they fail to deliver. We have just seen this same government slap a 10% tax on internet and sms services – yet the same government expects IT to take off in a big way. What kind of thinking is?

  31. Swiswili says:

    Komanso these lecturers are flooding the university places (more especially UNIMA) with their sons and daughters who most of them score 30 points or above. too much tukumu tukumu. Research and generate money osamangodzikundikila ma perks/benefits. etc.

  32. mulopwana says:

    apitala amakhala ngati sanapite ku school.

  33. To some extent the president is true. our universities spend much ofthe time on useless things instead of coming up with new ideas, new innovations etc. Imagine the the behaviour of students these days is a picture of a docile academia. 50yrs of indipendence a university is still being subvented by govt? look at the crop coming out of these collages interms of perfomance at work. Those involved in corruption, strikes, cashgate and lawyers with bad reputation in society are the current crop our universities are producing. Quiet different from what Kamuzu produce.

  34. che guevara says:

    The president didn’t stop them, he appealed to them.
    koma the lecturers mpakana discrediting his academic career. That’s not very smart of them.

  35. Dzomweudaya says:

    I would like to agree with Dzonzi that, much as it is important that the learned society needs to comment but, the significance of the issue matters, that is what Peter was trying to communicate hence he has in the process exposed the marginal thinking of the learned society including some irrational myopic thinkers who are failing to get it, or are arguing for the sake of arguing.

    Let us face the fact, right minded geniuses in this country have been on a number of times criticised but they remain focused and waste no time on trivial issues, hence where and how do we rate our so called dons who have developed a habit of commenting on just anything on the table. Can’t we at times go and seek them for comment?????!!!!!!

    No wonder progress in our country is an issue, we waste time arguing about everything.

  36. ade says:

    Are Lecturers not citizens of this country. Telling lecturers not to comment on public issues is the same argument we have heard in this country that clergy should not comment on politics. if that was the case we could not have people like Chilembwe. Bishops could have authored that pastoral letter.

  37. lloyd dylan jere says:

    The president really has a point. The problem is that he diluted it with the follow-up statement. He feels insecure when lecturers comment on issues that affect common man. His support is drawn from the uninformed. The president is surrounded by an educated cabinet, except Nankhumwa, but is not properly advised hence he makes a fool of his learned self.

  38. Namatchaitsa says:

    Stupid UNIMA lecturers afraid to write and do research. Akuopa mbwelera zawo ziwonekera.

    No wonder we have half baked graduates and UNIMA is poorly ranked.

  39. ndagoma ndidziko says:

    Apm has just been proved right. The lecturers have indeed commented on trivia . Apm missed one point though. He should have asked them to improve unimas ranking instead. If I were them I wouldnt open my mouth. I would be ashamed. How about improving Unimas ranking which is at the bottom of the list instead of what they are doing now? This ranking affects the graduating students who have no choice in the matter. They feel they can comment on anything but the president shouldn’t. Shame. Zamanyazi to be a lecturer at a low class university and then feel so pompous to even gag tje president.

  40. dog style ndi kawawa says:

    i think chavuta apa ndi chizungu. big man sinanene kuti musamayankhule, inanena kuti musamataye nthawi. muzitokota m’mene mukufunila koma ka 2 hrs kokha panganiko chowonetsa u doctor/professor/ engineer/lawyer wanu.

    dzulo-dzuloli mwana wapa university of zambia wa zaka 22 amamupanga interview pa bbc. wapanga invent a gravity-feed fertiliser back-pack with walking stick mechanism. it will minimise fertiliser wastage and downtime. inu mwapangako chani???

    nanunso ma reporter, chinthu chikachitika mumangothamangila ku chanco. you should be asking the man on the ground for his comments. the vendor/chips fryer/call boy/prostitute/satchet drinker will give you a real reflection of things on the ground. any questions???

  41. NYAU says:

    Mr Dzonzi, Tiyenazoni Mbuli Zophunzirazi.

  42. John K Black says:

    His Excellency the State President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika has shown in his previous posting as minister of education that he does not value universities, and especially independent thinking. This independent thinking is required for good academic research. But who wants research from a university, where independent thinking leads to closure of the university? That means research cannot be done, because the minister of education (currently President) does not like independent thinking!
    Now he is bitching that the universities are not doing enough research. Instead of shooting a blank, he should ask the universities what they need to do more research. Our universities are not of good quality because of terrible underfunding. As it is, lecturers and professors are horribly underpaid, which forces them to concentrate on consultancies to make a living. The universities do not even have enough money to fund the day to day teaching, let alone set aside funds for research. His excellency the State President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika should make the funds available and the university staff would love to do research instead of hunting for income with side activities day in day out.

  43. mphini za mutchafu says:

    Zoona state president sanalakwe ananena zoona amene akunena that he breached academic rights and freedoms are careless and useless commententors

  44. Yona says:

    Dzonzi seems to have defeaned his ears and heads his own way with a misdirected argument. We are saying no issue is trivial as long as it affects lives of people and the economy of the country. In fact lecturers are conducting research on the big man…a report will follow. Dzonzi watani kodi?

  45. Lipupa says:

    Mr Dzonzi or whatever, I think you should keep quite

  46. ujeni says:

    Inu a Muheya Lhomwe, the Dons are not stupid, they know better about research than a fake professor who cabt put across his views. Why should he tell people not to comment on any issues be it trivia or not, they got freedom of speech, it is their right.

  47. makito says:

    This is crap Justin. The President needed not stop them from commenting on publish issues. I cannot really understand how you miss the boat!

Comments are closed.