President Peter Mutharika officially conferred an honorary Doctor of Philosophy in Management and Leadership (Honorius Cauca) to the country’s gallant retired politician John Tembo amid concerns that the veteran politician did not deserve the accolade.
The former Malawi Congress Party president, Tembo received the honorary doctorate during a graduation ceremony at Chancellor College in Zomba.
His doctorate is from Polytechnic College for his contribution to the nation.
There were cheers and ululations from his supporters and students who filled the Chancellor College Great Hall in Zomba as Tembo stepped up to get his honorary degree from Mutharika, the Chancellor of the University.
Tembo was among over 400 candidates who received degrees, diplomas and honorary degrees.
Vice Chancellor, Professor John Kalenga Saka said, “the Honorius causa are conferred upon individuals who bring honour and prestige to the nation with significant contribution at national and international levels.”
The University of Malawi narrated how Tembo started his political career as Dedza south MP in 1965, leading him to several ministerial portfolios in the Kamuzu Banda one party regime.
According to autobiography read in the congregation hall, Tembo who was born in 1932 has been significant in the field of politics and public sector governance in the country.
Tembo a holder of BA in history and political philosophy obtained in Lesotho has served as Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi, Chairman of UNIMA and other companies, served as minister in MCP government and Malawi Congress Party president and leader of opposition until 2014.
However as he was getting his PhD, Malawians on social media criticised the University of Malawi for awarding the degree to Tembo, a close ally of former president Kamuzu Banda who ruled Malawi with an iron fist for over 30 years.
Political and socio commentator Stanley Onjezani Kenani simply asked what Tembo had done to get the doctorate.
Others said the university was simply trying to balance having been severely criticised a degree to First Lady Gertrude Mutharika – from the same Polytechnic – just over a year after launching her environmental charity.
Some people allege he was linked to atrocities in the one party regime of Kamuzu Banda. His trial on the murders of four powerful politicians Dick Matenje, Aaron Gadama, Twaibu Sangala and David Chiwanga collapsed in the 1990s when the High Court freed him along with Kamuzu Banda and Mama Tamanda Kadzamira.
Also honoured were; Professor Brown Bizwick Chimphamba who received Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership and Management from Chancellor College and Professor Peter Gola Mwanza was also awarded Doctors of Philosophy in Leadership and Management by College of Medicine for their national achievements.
Chimphamba was recognized as the first Malawian Vice Chancellor of the University of Malawi, contributed to the institution of the college of medicine and Mzuzu University while Professor Mwanza born 1937 was the one recognized as the first Malawian academic staff of UNIMA and played a greater role to amalgamate the then University of Malawi at Chichiri campus, Soche campus and Mpemba school of public administration as Unima which moved to Zomba.
UNIMA also conferred two ladies, Alinane Linda Nyondo Mipando and Edith Chimwemwe Shame with Doctor of Philosophy in Health Systems and Policy, Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics respectively.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :