Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bingu faults tertiary selection system

Malawi President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika attentively listening to a journalist question during the press briefing. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Lucy Liponda & Emmanuel Sobilika

Malawi President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika has defended his government’s actions to introduce equitable university education saying the new system is aimed at giving equal opportunities to all Malawians looking for tertiary education.

Dr Mutharika was speaking on the subject for the first time since the University of Malawi announced a few months ago that it was introducing the system as a new formula of selecting students into the country’s public institutions of higher learning.

Speaking to journalists at the New State House in the administrative capital, Lilongwe, Ngwazi Dr Mutharika said that he saw nothing wrong with the new system.

He said the current university selection system is not proper as it is seen to be favouring people from one specific region.

“This must be corrected now as it is creating discontent in other areas,” said the State President who came to the press conference with a folder full of facts.

He challenged those opposing the new system of selection to engage him in a debate.

“When you want to argue, you must do that with facts which I have and these facts are not made by me,” he said.

President Mutharika disclosed that because of the discrepancies in the university selection system, even in top government positions that he described as ‘super scale’ are dominated by people from a specific region.

In arguing for his case, the State President read out figures of people from Northern Malawi who occupy ‘super scale’ positions in the country as compared to the other regions.

The facts showed dominance by people from northern region as compared to the country’s other three regions.

The President also presented facts of students’ registration at Mzuzu University and Chancellor College where it was also proved that students from the North are in dominance.

“The facts are here and I feel this is an unnecessary debate,” he said.

The President disclosed that he was forced to comment on the issue and bring out the facts saying he did this in response to some people who were deliberately distorting the facts.

“The new system is not discriminating against the people from Northern Malawi but rather it’s aimed at giving every Malawian equal opportunity to university education,” he said.

President Mutharika said that in the new system, government guarantees each district specific number of places in the university and the remaining places will be filled on merit.

In putting up his case, the State President also referred to members of his cabinet where he said some Northerners occupy important portfolios.

“Goodall Gondwe Minister of Local Government, Khumbo Kachali Minister of Transport, Professor Mwanza Minister of Health, Professor Etta Banda, Minister of Foreign Affairs and even the Vice President Joyce Banda is from Nkhatababy by marriage according to traditional norms of Lobola,” said the State President.

Although the State President mentioned the above stated ministers, he left out other Northerners including Development and Planning Minister Abbie Shabba and at least 5 other deputy Ministers.

The issue of equitable university education system has generated a lot of debate in the county although those arguing against the new system have not come out with facts the way President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika did on Wednesday-Malawi Digest.


  1. What's wrong with this president now? People from the north have been supporting you throughout the compaign and now you want to damp them because you've risen to power. Hey, the north has the least number of people than all the other regions and therefore there is a higher probability, if everyone is subjected to the same conditions, of someone from the centre or south getting to the university.

    Moreover, all examinees are subjected to the same syllabus and same examinations. Besides, the universities administer entrance exams. If the notherners are doing better than the other students the solution should not be to regulate the outcome of the examination but to look at the factors that are making the others fail to succed.

    One solution: Reduce the minimum score for university entrance to 40 points for the south and Centre. Ngati mitu ndiyowuma osangozisiya bwanji? We now know that even you Mr President ndinu owumanso mutu. Otherwise how can you make this decision.

  2. So that is what you call facts? Do we have a different curriculum in Malawi from North to South? I would rather look on why those from North are doing better than other regions and borrow a leaf from them. Why will some ethnic groups be good at businesses than others? Ever heard of cultural capital? If it’s due to scarcity of places, build more universities. Your facts just sound as a production of distorted conscious.

    Is that what you have been proclaiming as dreaming in colors? Malawian politics is not stable; we will see changes within a change in government one of these days. It’s high time to be engaged in dialogue not just rubberstamping things.

    We are certainly going backwards on this one & it shows that the government is failing to give better services, you will fail the nation if not careful and mind you that is grooming ground of hatred. UNIMA was built in time of Ngwazi Dr. Kamuzu Banda and the population by that time was not like these days. I think you have hidden agendas, I hope most of you people will not open some private institutions within this short period.

    Too much economical, rationing everything even if it is wrong to keep the capitalist wheel going. If you want equality, this is not the way forward. Build more Universities, which will also be creation of jobs. It looks simple like a proportion in every district, but is it quantity over quality or we want quality? If you say a proportion of whatsoever as long as they fall in a same range of lets say best 15 credits in any particular district and the rest fight for merits at least that can be something.

    I suppose new trend will be developed, people will shine away from North where they will feel completion will be high, this will also be reducing the economic performance of the north and the most favorable places will be where people under perform. Hope I can have one to one with this man who claims to have facts. The thing is that you have ghost government websites; otherwise, I would like to see all those so called facts and evaluations. Long comments are what I learned from Nyasatimes, if this is a consensus democracy, and then let the debate go on before rubber-stamping the issue.

    A poor folks life should not be guided by the elites who can afford going for fishing in Spain yet their country is having scarcity of universities and the way out is seen as quota.

    Life goes on

  3. I now know that the owner of this site is related to Bingu! He is back now & u've found what to write................hahahahhahahah

    Mwachenjera pogona tionana pozuka

  4. Hey guys, its true the solution seems ilogical, but you people are not listerning, it goes to show that you are just being emmotional, look, there will still be 70% of the university intake up for grabs based on merit. if you Northerners think you are very intelligent then you will have the whole 70% plus your allocated 10 per district, is that still bad for you? come on, I know you are found in the university in large numbers because you work vry hard to come down to town, its not wits, and once you are here in the south you froget about your home, and you dont even perfome as you did on MSCE, why coz you are now in town. the fact is quota will help some districts to have graduates without hurting anybody

  5. The President wants facts and here are some of them:

    1. If out of two students of equal ability you select one and leave the other because the latter comes from district X or tribe Q that is tribalism. Mr. President that is what you are introducing and yet you brand it not tribalistic. Only a myopic mind can listen to that.

    2. A place at the University of Malawi or Mzuzu has to be earned out of hard work and not otherwise. Let the best and those who deserve get there, nobody less.

    3. In any competition fair play is the rule of the game and merit (not quota) prevails. That is why in football Brazil has dominated world football, in Malawi NT there are more players from the North and nobody is raising eyebrows. In economy USA has dominated and Malawi should not expect a quota share of world dominance.

    4. In Africa (except very few countries) development is retrogressive because the leadership is tribalistic, looks at personalities and not capabilities. The USA has a policy of getting intelligent people from almost all tribes of the world to work for it. Mr. President cannot be further schooled on this he is a better scholar that the author.

    5. Did the president do his school out of quota privilege? I doubt.

  6. If the whole President himself whom we thought was intelligent and wise is dividing Malawi like that into 'where you come from' what will savages do. We thought after the regionalistic and tribalistic voting patterns of 1994 and 1999 Malawians had grown wiser and became one from their voting in 2009. But the President is saying no to 'oneness' by re-introducing a tribe-divisive tool in quota. How myopic he can be not to see that. How contradictory it is to offer people opportunities based on their tribes and say you are not tribalistic. Quota system is the evil out of fear, envy, jealousy and hate. I fear it is a reminiscence of marginalization of one group of people. MR PRESIDENT YOU HAVE BREWED TROUBLE FOR THIS COUNTRY.


  7. Out of a very sober mind I would like to find out:

    How is quota system going to select innocent children from young beautiful and innocent mothers from Nsanje, Mwanza, Mulanje, Zomba, Machinga and Ntchisi etc married in the North and bearing their fathers' names and homes. Should these women have their children unfairly treated and condemned because of marrying in the North? This may also apply to districts within Southern and central regions.

    Shall we wonder then if now ladies from the central and Southern Regions will deny marriage proposals from handsome young men from the North and other districts for fear of disadvantaging their chldren's future in school.

  8. Cry the beloved country Mother Malawi,since when do universities enroll students with population and region of origin as qualification basis amongst others?The solution is to increase capacity for UNIMA so that each year more students are recruited.

    We pray that the courts should once again disgrace the executive as was the case in 1993!!This is not what malawians voted for on 19th May,anthu anakana za ma regions,DPP was voted in all corners of Malawi but that did not mean you shld re-introduce quota system.Even in the holy bible it is written that those who are lazy should not eat...

  9. Greed is what is driving those opposing the proposed system.

  10. Not long ago, the pursuit of quota and federal character was attempted in sports. Suddenly, the Eagles camp had a mixed grill of Nigerian youths from the States of the Federation. It was a wonderful experience seeing them together, but the result was a calamitous disaster. In the end, talent had to be allowed to prevail over quota.

  11. It is an insult to human nature to think that intelligence is shared along geographical boundaries, that one region is more intelligent than others. Our colonisers tried thinking that way, and the world only discovered the mental bankruptcy of the White Man.

  12. I am sure those of us who remember some of the mistakes of Late Kamuzu Banda will agree with me that at one time he (Kamuzu) thought of sending teachers to teach in their respective regions and he did that targetting those from the North. The outcome was that there were no qualified teachers in the other two regions to teach Maths and Science and there more than enough teachers in North teaching such important subjects. No wonder, students from the North took advantage of that and occupied more places at the university. He could not publicly accept that he made a mistake and reversed his decision to improve the performance of students in the Center and South. I believe you want to make the same mistake Mr. President and you will eventually regret like your mentor Dr. Kamuzu Banda. Let us wait and see ngati mbuli will develop Malawi. Kaya ndi zanu, those of the North are now getting used to this kind of game.

  13. wow i thoguht we moved from that kind of miopic politics, come on ............. i thought change had come to Malawi, i guess not its just more of the same..............

  14. The Catholic church in Malawi has built more schools in Mangochi Diocese than in any other diocese. However, enrollment is very low at these schools in Mangochi diocese and Bishop Asolari complained greats about this.

    The issue is, why is it that in Mangochi people do not enroll that much at these schools? The solution to this can never be quota and superficail policies like these dont work any way.

    The people that the president is saying they dominating the super scale are actually products of KAmuzu's quarter!!! How come the north still dominates? And indeed nchifukwa chani yawo dominate in business and the hall of millionnaires? Do we also need quorta to ensure other tribes also get into business? WHy is it that chewa's dominate agricultural production? do we need quorta here as well?

    WHy is that presidents have come only from the south since independence? Quota could be needed here as well may be?

    The north has just one road while the south enjoys intertwining tarmac roads!! Is quota needed here ?
    May time has come to go federal!!

  15. Inu Bingu ndi kape!M'dala nzeru zatha, ofunika amwe nansanganya.You know wat!in malawi we only do one thing correctly! the rest we mess up. Bingu has been right on food security but after this eeeh!Galu weni weni.Angwazi nawo anatipasa independence koma nkhanza.Akakhala atcheya tonse tikuziwa business tsopano komanso timacheza bwino ngati amalawi.

    This Mbuzi now wants to split this country into two.May be we can donate the North to Zambia or Tanzania if we dont want anzathuwa.But honestly do we care about our intermarriages? Sikuti chifukwa choti enanu mulibe akazi kapena amuna ndiye tizinamizana. Amalawi tonse panyopathu!!!!M'malo moti tithamangise amwenye amene akutizunzawa zowona tingamadane tokha-tokha. Shame on us.We are idiots right from the First citizen to the last.