Mzuzu University (Mzuni) has announced the hiring of Professor John Kalenga Saka as the institution’s vice chancellor to replace Dr. Robert Ridley who “withdrew” his services in 2017.
In a communique signed by Mzuni’s acting registrar, James Kwilimbe, and dated May 15, 2019, Saka brings with him “admirable experience gained through his long service both as a distinguished academic and manager of higher education.”
According to Kwilimbe, Saka is expected “to report for duties once he clears with his employer, the University of Malawi, where he was Vice Chancellor.”
His predecessor, Ridley, withdrew his services from the institution five months after his reappointment by President Peter Mutharika.
In a letter to Mzuni council chairperson, Rex Harawa, Ridley said there were delays associated with the appointment process which illustrated a systemic failure.
“…the extensive delays associated with the process have demonstrated a systemic disrespect for the office of the VC and under these circumstances, I no longer feel that I can commit myself to the position…the cumulative delays have led to an untenable situation, hence my decision to terminate the process,” Ridley had written.
But Saka, among others, takes over an institution that is struggling financially with an intermittent disbursement of its K400 million monthly subvention since February.
He was born in Malawi and educated at Chancellor College, University of Malawi and the University of East Anglia (PhD, Chemistry).
Saka subsequently became Lecturer in Physical Chemistry at the University of Malawi in 1986 where he became a Professor in 2002.
He was installed as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Malawi on 2 December 2013 and is also chairperson of the Malawi National Examinations Board.