The University of Malawi (Unima) is on Wednesday set to confer on former Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president John Tembo an honorary degree of doctor of philosophy in leadership management.
Tembo, who holds a bachelor of arts in political philosophy from the University of Roma (also known as Pius XII College) in Lesotho, served as chairperson of Unima Council in the 1970s.
In a letter addressed to Tembo from the University Office in Zomba signed by deputy university registrar Ashanie Gawa dated February 29 2016, Unima indicates that JZU, as he is fondly called in political circles, will be conferred the honorary PhD as part of the Unima 50th Anniversary Celebrations.
Gawa has written to Tembo that he would receive the award on Wednesday in the Great Hall at Chancellor College in Zomba alongside the third graduating class of 2014/15 academic year.
Reads Gawa’s letter which The Nation has seen: “I am pleased to convey the decision by the Council of the University of Malawi that you be awarded an honorary degree, a Doctorate Degree in Leadership and Management for the outstanding leadership in Malawi and beyond.”
Tembo’s daughter-in-law, who also served with him in the MCP, Nancy Tembo, said it should be the University Council confirming that he would be conferred the honours.
But Nancy Tembo, who is a commissioner of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), said if it does happen on Wednesday, Tembo himself might speak to the media on what the honour means to him.
Apart from his political career, which spans over 50 years, Tembo taught at Dedza Secondary School and Robert Blake Secondary School in Dowa.
The former member of Parliament for Dedza South (1961 to 2014), has worked in various capacities in the civil service, including as Minister of Finance and Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi, where he served for 13 years.
After the multiparty dispensation, Tembo served as MCP president contesting in the presidential elections of 2004 on MCP ticket and 2009 as a candidate of MCP/UDF alliance without success. n