This year, Mzuzu University (Mzuni) has turned 25 years. Happy birthday Mzuni.
Led by our indomitable, impeccable and unimpeachable genuine Prof Abiti Joyce Befu, MG 266, MEGA-1, we are here in the city named after that water plant, chizuzu, mispronounced into mzuzu, to celebrate with the Mzuzuans.
Is that correct? That the name, Mzuzu, comes from chizuzu, we are not sure. But we are cocksure about chizuzu (vizuzu for many) being a water plant that dominates Mzuzu’s water bodies.
As we celebrate the University’s Silver Jubilee we must trace our steps back and reflect and ponder.
Until 25 years or so ago, the Northern Region had no university college. The University of Malawi was established in 1965 and over the years it came to have two colleges in Blantyre, one in Zomba and two in Lilongwe and nil in Mzuzu and the entire Northern Region. Why this had to be the case, only Allah, mwene chalo na vilengiwa, knows.
However, president Bakili decided to change things and walk his campaign promises of developing the North. Of courses, many Thomas Iscariots thought silently and overtly ‘Munganya uyu wakuteta!’
President Muluzi decided to turn the Mzuzu Teachers’ College into a new university. If he had wanted, he would have converted any school in Machinga, Mangochi, or Balaka into Malawi’s second public university.
Muluzi’s enemies criticised him for turning Mzuzu Teachers’ College into a university, arguing that he should have built Mzuni from scratch as if the University of Malawi was not built from existing infrastructure. His friends praised him and cheered him on.
Since its establishment from a teachers’ college, Mzuni has trained many educationists, forestry and environmental specialists, security researchers, nurses, physicists, chemists, mathematicians, hospitality managers, ICT experts, bioenergy researchers but, curiously, no cashgate experts.
For 25 years, Mzuni has offered jobs to many academics and administration staff from all regions of Malawi and the world at large, and support staff from the local community.
Mzuni was not the only major development Muluzi initiated to change the face of Mzuzu and the North Region in general.
Remember that it was Muluzi who ordered Southern Bottlers to open up a plant in Mzuzu, and behold it was opened. He ordered his own government to open a tobacco auction floors in Mzuzu and behold and lo it was opened.
Thank you president Muluzi. Mzuni is your baby and you should feel proud that your baby is now a mature and productive young ‘citizen’. Pat yourself on the back. If you don’t, nobody else will till Allah decides to return you unto the dust.
Chinua Achebe wrote in Things Fall Apart, “The lizard that jumped from the high iroko tree to the ground said he would praise himself if no one else did.” Self praise is not crime.
Thank you Atcheya for giving us Malawians Mzuzu University.