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Tuesday, 21 July 2009

A wonderful tradition

As Malawi plans the construction of a third government funded university, we are reminded of an interesting Malawian tradition that bears no resemblance in Zambia :
Mutharika, a western-educated economist, is planning to build a university in his home area. Former President Bakili Muluzi – who earlier this year saw his bid to stand for a third presidential term blocked by a court – also plans to build a university, maintaining a tradition in which Malawian presidents have committed themselves to building private educational institutions. The country’s first president – Muluzi’s predecessor Hastings Kamuzu Banda – built a high quality institution, the Kamuzu Academy, nick-named ‘Eton in the Bush’.


  1. Lol! They are hoping to be featured on MTV Academies, the Malawian equivalent of MTV Cribs!

    On a totally 'unrelated' subject, whatever has happened to the FTJ institute?

  2. I don't see how it is so wonderful that a national politician uses national resources bring development to his region. I see it as an undermining of democracy, because it leaves out anyone who does not live in that region. If anything, politicians should ensure that all regions of the country equally benefit from their rule. I think it is a very dangerous show of tribalism at it's worst. It is the stuff secession is made of.

    In my opinion. :)

  3. MrK,

    You have your "counterfactual" wrong!

    If that money is not spent on the universities it will be abroad!

    So I agree with you, but we are in a "second best" world.

  4. Cho,

    If you mean that the money would otherwise be spent on sending students abroad, I agree.

    However, building it in his home area is the stuff tribalism (and the fear thereof) is made.

    Remember the whole 'we need a Tonga president' back in the 2006 elections, and how it sunk the chances of Hakainde Hichilema? This is why. People need to know that when they elect a president, their area of the country is not excluded, otherwise they will only vote for a candidate from their region (which I think they already do).

    That isn't voting on ideology, which I think elections should be about - differences economic in policy. Otherwise elections are just a matter of playing roulette, and hoping the presidency lands on your square (so to speak). :)

  5. MrK,

    I meant the money would have been deposited in Swiss accounts!

    I actually agree with you that we would rather not have Presidents build universities unless we know they got money in a fair way. But would you prefer they built the University in Europe? Because that is what happens!


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