Higher Education Minister Professor Nkandu Luo says Africans have a bad tendency of honoring people when they are long gone.
Speaking at a special convocation ceremony at Intercontinental Hotel, Saturday, Prof Luo hailed the University of Zambia (UNZA) for conferring honorary doctorate degrees in law on President Edgar Lungu and his Zimbabwean counterpart Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“Today is extremely significant for us as the Higher Education Ministry that in fact, we are going to confer these degrees on two sitting Heads of state. Furthermore, we are celebrating them while they are alive. In Africa, we have this tendency where we talk about so many beautiful things as we are burying people. But when they are alive, we say all the ugly things that we can think about, especially when they find themselves as Heads of State of a country,” said Prof Luo.
“Your being honoured today is going to bring a lot of thinking, not only amongst us that are present here but even in our children about the importance of education and that without education, you are lost as a nation…so your Excellencies, you will be our torch as alumni of the University of Zambia and ensure that the dream of your Ministers of Education gets realised. We have dreamed and we want to live the dream.”
Meanwhile, UNZA vice chancellor Prof Luke Mumba outlined some of the activities that the University was engaged in to become financially self-reliant.
“Your Excellencies, I am glad to report that in our effort to enhance financial sustainability, we launched in April 2019 the newly installed industrial printer procured at a cost of K10 million. With this equipment, UNZA is now ready for any printing job for all our customers in Zambia, Zimbabwe and the region as a whole. We invite the corporate sector to support us in all the printing orders for the UNZA commercial printing service. UNZA requires diverse business opportunities if it is to be financially sustainable. May I therefore add that in addition to our technical, professional knowhow, the printing machine has given us international competitive capacity to service the different printing requirements of our government, including, your Excellencies, the printing of ballot papers,” said Prof Mumba.
Meanwhile, Prof Kumar Baboo, who read President Lungu’s autobiography, congratulated the President for championing women empowerment in his government.
“His Excellency Mr Edgar Changwa Lungu was recognised by the African Union for championing the fight against early marriages. He has also been a champion on advancing women empowerment and youths… this has been attested by appointing the first ever female Vice-President of Zambia. This exemplary work has to be honoured,” said Prof Kumar.
President Lungu accepted the honour, saying “we acknowledge that education is the key to productivity and national development. It is for this reason that my government will prioritise the education sector” whereas his counterpart President Mnangagwa said: “As I receive this prestigious award, allow me to state that both my past and present contributions was never to claim for personal accolades… I am a testimony of the quality of education that the University of Zambia has produced and I am humbled by this award.”