Two months after being conferred with an honorary doctorate, legendary musician Wambali Mkandawire has disowned the degree for personal reasons.
Wambali was honoured alongside gospel music songstress Ethel Kamwendo Banda, who was conferred with a Masters in musicology by the Cyprus International Institute of Texas in the United States of America in July.
But a text message signed by the award winning artist indicates a sudden change of mind though it does not give details to what has exactly happened.
“In July this year I received communication that I was being conferred an honorary doctorate from an American university. The invitation came through Mr Gadama’s office in Lilongwe, who is known as professor Gadama and is said to be the Vice Chancellor of the university. Since I was in the village without network, I had to ask friends to google and find out the credibility of the university.
“The results were very positive. The graduation ceremony was to take place at BICC. It was in the last week of the events that one or two things emerged that had raised some questions, but I decided to focus on rehearsals for my Calabrash Breath album launch,” reads part of the message.
It further adds: “After the show when my doubts were finally confirmed, I wrote to Mr Gadama that I had disowned the degree. May I say that your celebration with me for what was seen as an achievement is not in vain, for some of you helped me to unfold the scam. With your help and by God’s grace I was able to successfully discard the fake doctorate and clung to my ‘Mte’, which is worth celebrating. Thank you for your support. Shalom. Mte,” reads the message.
In an interview, Wambali confirmed authoring the message, but declined to share more details until when time is ripe.
“Let me indicate that it’s true that I have disowned the honorary doctorate on personal grounds, but at the moment, I am not saying much as I am still trying to get response from the institution weeks after writing them about my decision. I will say more when it becomes necessary,” he said.
The institute’s second Vice Chancellor, Professor Gusto Tuweh Gadama confirmed getting a letter from Wambali.
“I have seen an email he sent to that effect and I have suggested to him that we meet and discuss the matter for our understanding. I am shocked honestly and will make it a point to find out from him what has triggered this.
“He just said personal grounds are the reasons for disowning the doctorate and did not elaborate as such I cannot give you more details,” explained Gadama.
In recent years, Cyprus International Institute of Texas has conferred both academic and honorary papers to Malawians including Mama Cecelia Kadzamira and Chipimpha Mughogho.