Malawi’s Vice-president Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima has described late Justice Maxon Mbendera, SC, the former Attorney General, Supreme Court of Appeal judge and Chairperson of Malawi Electoral Commission at the time of his death, as a man who served his country diligently and with loyalty through various positions he held in the public service.
Chilima said this at the unveiling ceremony of Jubilee University in Lilongwe on Saturday August 19, which late Justice Mbendera founded just before his untimely death but has been sustained by members of his family and the unveiling ceremony was also to honour and celebrate the life of the former judge.
“Indeed the late Justice Mbendera SC was full of selflessness and humility,” Chilima said. “He was a symbol of selfless humanity that we must all cherish.
“I can vividly recall the eulogies that people made at his funeral. As a country we indeed lost a beloved son, brother, father, friend, colleague and a great public servant.
“However, Justice Maxon Mbendera lives on, in the deeds he performed, in the thoughts, the feelings and the memories of him that we hold. As we celebrate his life today, I am proud to say it here that the late Justice Mbendera was a shining example of what a lawyer, a Judge, public servant ought to be: competent and courageous, tenacious and tough, brave and dedicated, yet understanding and compassionate to those who needed a helping hand.
“The day we buried him, I was touched by the eulogy which Dr. Mwiza Nkhata made. Allow me to quote part of that eulogy. I quote: ‘Justice Mbendera’s career on the bench will never really be defined by its brevity but rather by the impact that it had on all those who had the privilege of appearing before him. For someone who had had so much success, he could easily have traded in haughtiness for humility and harshness for graciousness. But it was never so with Judge Mbendera. He remained grounded and unassuming. Ever the consummate gentleman. He was firm but polite in his rebuke of counsel and generous in his praise for those who had earned it. His was not a court that counsel dreaded appearing in’”.
Chilima explained that the words from Dr Nkhata fully explains that the career of Justice Mbendera as a private practice lawyer was enviable and that it was in recognition of his exploits and leadership at the bar that in the year 2008, he was elevated to the rank of Senior Counsel, the highest honour that any practitioner of the law can achieve in affirmation of their abilities.
“However, as we all witness today, even in his death, the late Justice Mbendera SC continues to serve this country. He has brought us here today to remind us that good men DIE but their names and deeds DON’T.
“We are here to celebrate his life and at the same time witness Justice Mbendera’s continued belief and love for this country through the establishment of Jubilee University. I hardly need to stress the significance of quality Higher Education in the context of national development. For Malawi to effectively win the battle against poverty, unemployment, and over-population, one major strategy is to ensure that we improve both quality and accessibility of higher education.
“It is for this reason, that I commend the late Justice Mbendera and his family for founding Jubilee University and its unveiling today ahead of its launch when all the accreditation process is finalized. The university will go a long way in contributing to the country’s national development through quality education,” he said.
Chilima said he expects Jubilee University will truly reflect the class and character of the man that Justice Mbendera was, who believed in an education that was complete, premised on educating the whole being; the head (intellect), the heart (values and attitude) and the hand (competence).
“These principles, relate closely to what the government of His Excellency, Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika promotes — that we should be a people that value patriotism, integrity and hard work.
“It is, therefore, gratifying not only for me as a person but also the government, to note that many partners are strongly conscious of knowledge as a major resource that can contribute enormously to and ensuring the sustainable development of Malawi.”
He described Jubilee University as impressibe that shall fill the gap in the market by offering quality and specialized programmes to young and mature people for the sustainability and betterment of their communities, the nation and individual growth.
And that as an university it shall stick to the wishes of the founder by ensuring that it educates the whole human being; the head, the heart and the hand.
“I dare add that always appeal to your students to know the difference between education and qualification. I know what I am talking about. I have seen qualified people but not educated.
“Let us be people who value education and not just wanting to get qualifications. One Henry Ford said, and I quote: “University degrees and diplomas mean nothing to me unless you show me what you can do with them.”
“Through your motto (Empowerment, Integrity and Transformation), it is my expectation that one day we will witness a graduation ceremony of well moulded students armed with empowerment to help develop the country, men and women with integrity to correct the wrongs in society, leaders full of transformational ideas so that they can challenge the status quo in society by not only thinking outside the box but even in reverse or side ways to find the necessary solutions that this country needs.
“It is again my considered view that once accredited and launched, the university will live true to its core values as Justice Mbendera would have wished. It is also my plea that the University must a take a strategy which ensures that it gives education that is relevant and responds to the development needs of the country. This will be achieved if all institutions of higher learning emphasize on imparting education and not just qualifications.”
Chilima further quotes Albert Einstein as saying: “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one learned in school”.
The State Vice President congratulated the Mbendera family, the University Council, and all stakeholders for making the dream of the late Justice Mbendera of imparting knowledge to others come true by unveiling the Jubilee University.
Present at the ceremony included Bright Msaka SC, Minister of Education, Science and Technology; Clement Chinthu-Phiri, Secretary to the Office of the Vice President and Commissioner for Disasters; Dr. Ida Mbendera, wife to the late Justice Mbendera; Dr. Maluwa Banda, Chairman of Jubilee University Council, Kamdoni Nyasulu, representing close friends to the late Justice Mbendera and other prominent government officials.
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