By Mphatso Nkuonera
Lilongwe, November 20, Mana: President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera was on Thursday inaugurated Chancellor of the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) at a colourful event held at BICC in Lilongwe.
The installation, which was done during the 4th Congregation sessions 3 and 4 of the graduation ceremony of LUANAR saw over 1000 students being awarded with certificates with 917 Diplomas, 216 Bachelors’ Degrees, 26 Masters Degrees while five were awarded with Doctorate of Philosophy Degrees (PhDs).
Speaking after assuming the Chancellorship, President Chakwera said his acceptance to the chancellorship should not be regarded as a contradiction of his earlier statements on not to make Heads of State as chancellor.
“I am only complying with the laws currently in force, but I am sure through the Minister of Education that you are coming up with a harmonised law to repeal this anomaly that has made me accept this role today,” Chakwera emphasized.
The president has since challenged the graduating students to look into today’s problems and be able to create solutions for future generations using the skills and innovations imparted on them. This, he said, would help fulfill the vision of creating one million jobs.
“I am excited with all the initiatives and innovations taking place at LUANAR to contribute towards the development of the country.
“Use your skills acquired to serve the nation, because it is no value to earn a distinction or doctorate in food production if it does not result in food production,” he urged.
LUANAR’s Vice Chancellor, Professor George Kanyama Phiri said the college has achieved a lot since LUANAR was inaugurated.
“We have increased enrollment from 1, 800 in 2012 to 13,850 in 2020, through establishment of ODel and City Campus, this is in keeping with the government aspiration of widening access to higher education in Malawi.
“The university has also intensified on research, consultancies and outreach to make LUANAR a world class university and has been recognised internationally as the Aqua fish Centre of excellence with funding from World Bank,” he said.
Chairman of the Council for LUANAR, Prof Zachary Kasomekera said the council will embrace the spirit of academic freedom as one of those pillars to make LUANAR a world class university.
“We will try to ensure that we produce world class knowledgeable students with desired skills for the betterment of our nation and beyond.
“In the success of this university is the cordial relationship that exists in all the leadership structures and organs that has propelled the effective delivery of services based on the strategic plan that was agreed,” Kasomekera explained.
He, however, said that the COVID-19 pandemic and the dwindling of funding from government are among the many challenges that have hit the university and appealed for support.
One of the graduating students in Bachelor of Science in Food Technology, Jacqueline Chaima said she was excited that she has been conferred with the degree which she would use to change other lives.
“I will make sure my knowledge which I have acquired at the college is put to proper use.
“I am going to establish a company to process tomatoes and other fruits that decompose for not being used in our societies. That will help others get a job. Time for losing fruits during their season of plenty is over,” she said.
LUANAR was born in 2011 which saw the University of Malawi Bunda-College Campus being amalgamated with Natural Resources College (NRC) which got established in 1969.
Section 13 Act 9 of 2011 of the University states that, ‘there shall be a chancellor who shall be the State President.’