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Chanco dean hails Chilima: Veep was spot on Malawi ‘moral decay’ public lecture

Dean of Humanities at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College in Zomba has hailed Vice President Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima’s  (SKC) public lecture on moral decadence as ‘spot on’.

Vice -president Chilima during the public lecture at Chanco

The Philosophy Department at Chancellor College hosted a public lecture titled Moral Decadence: Towards an Effective Compliance and Ethics Programme delivered to master of arts (MA) in applied ethics students by Vice-President Chilima last week.

Japhet Bakuwa , who is Dean of Humanities at the college,  said in a published interview with the local paper that Chilima’s lecture has challenged the department of philosophy, in particular, and the nation, at large, to provide solutions to moral decadence in the country.

“It was spot on. He summarised the lecture succinctly in one sentence, ‘there is no right way of doing the wrong thing’. There is no better advice to citizens of Malawi than that. We need the government to take a leading role in condemning moral decay and promoting ethical behaviour among the citizenry.

“We need to take on board all actors, including politicians, public servants, corporate players, NGOs, traditional leaders and common people in our villages,” said Bakuwa.

He said the success or failure of the MA in applied ethics programme should be measured by the impact it will have on the society as a whole.

“The graduates from the programme should go out there and make a difference. I believe that the MA in applied ethics programme in our faculty complements government’s development agenda,” said Bakuwa.

Bakuwa said there is “general acceptance” that there is moral decay all around Malawians.

“Both the public and private sectors are faced with moral problems. For the academia to be relevant to society, it has to respond to societal needs or problems. One of the ways we can be relevant is to develop academic programmes that respond to ethical issues in the workplace. It is for this reason that we introduced this programme since it endeavours to produce graduates who are sensitive to demand for ethics, graduates who have a moral propensity towards doing what is good for the nation. Such graduates cannot keep quiet, and say that it is not their concern where ethical violations are the order of the day, but will blow the whistle at the right time,” Bakuwa is quoted in the paper.

He said moral decadence is manifesting in various ways in the public as well as private sectors.

“ For instance, much of Malawi’s public funds are lost through corruption. If public servants can discharge their duties with the nation’s good at heart we would be heading towards economic independence and national development. Corruption stems from self-interest, and it benefits only a few. We need to join hands and fight this vice which is robbing our nation of development. We need an ethical culture if we are to develop economically, socially and politically,” he said,

Bakuwa said the cost of moral decadence is enormous both to the public and private sectors.

“A good example of moral decadence is Capital Hill Cashgate of 2013. As a nation we are still paying hugely because of some corrupt and selfish civil individuals who decided to steal public money. This is unacceptable and derails national development,” he said.

The academician said he strongly believe that government is trying its best to deal with such ethical malpractices.

“The establishment of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) is an indication that government is committed to fight corruption. The Public Finance Management Act of 2003 is another legal instrument to check on abuse of public funds. However, we need more players in dealing with the vice. We need all players on-board. I believe that the department of philosophy at Chancellor College has joined in the fight against corruption and unethical behaviour in public and private sectors,” he said.

In his lecture, Chilima observed that moral decay, including corruption, accelerates conflict between ethics and the law in all sectors of the economy.

“Adherence to ethical standards or moral conduct is the norm not the exception. But despite this full realisation, we still find ourselves caught in this trap such that these malpractices take the shape of normalcy and become a way of life.

“Individuals that are appointed to hold senior positions of influence eventually lose control over the organisations they represent because they are obsessed with external attachments.” he said.

Chilima was a student at Chancellor College from 1990 to 1994 when he studied computer science and economics in the faculty of social science.

He returned in 2003 to 2005 for a Master of Arts in economics and studied with University of Bolton in the United Kingdom and was awarded a PhD in the Knowledge Management.

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