President Peter Arthur Mutharika has said discussion for the establishment of this Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) was started while he and his brother, former State President late Bingu, were in the Diaspora way back in the 1980s.
“We had always dreamt of a University that would nurture our African pride,” the President told the congregation at at the graduation ceremony of Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) on Tuesday, November 5.
In a speech entitled ‘The Spirit of the Malawi We Want’, Mutharika continued to say: “I was the Minister of Education when we eventually started this University. At a personal level therefore, I am proud to have been at the creation of this University.
“This first graduation ceremony is the fulfilment of a dream that began many years ago. And remember — you are that dream you must go out to fulfil.
“You are the intellectual product of a University that many Malawians are proud of. You are the pride of the nation. You are the living idea of this University.
“Every University has a reason for its existence. This is our identity. This University was founded as a project of African Renaissance in this country.
“In whatever we teach, we must cultivate the spirit of innovation, the spirit of self-dependence and national pride.
“We must create a nation where we believe that we are a capable people. We are capable of developing this country.
“In this University, we believe in championing new research and innovation in science and technology that empowers us to take control of our heritage of indigenous resources.
“This is the reason of your existence that the scholars and the University must never lose.
“As Professor Bingu wa Mutharika argued at the inception of this University, ‘development takes place when people take full control of their resources’. And I say to you — we have all the resources that we need to develop this country.
“This University must prove to this country that Malawi is not poor. Malawi is not a poor country. Only the people are poor. But much of our poverty is poverty of the mind.
“Our poverty is not a result of lacking resources. Our poverty results from the way we think as a nation. Our poverty begins with our mindset.
“It is therefore the job of the University to teach a nation which way to think and to change a national mindset. It should be the mission of the University to wage a crusade against a negative mindset.
“As I said here in December 2016, this University is our living testimony that, as a nation, we can accomplish any great dream — if we think big, plan big and act decisively.
“Today, I say to you, our graduating students, that you are a living testimony that with determination and hard work, we can achieve our dreams. Believe in yourself. Be different!
“You are going with skills to bring electricity and quality water to our homes in the villages.
“You are leaving this University to make Malawi an oil and gas producing country and an exporting economy.
“You are going out to the country to support our people in fighting disasters that affect our lives every year. You are set to fight poverty.
“You are going out with a mission for us to regain the glory of indigenous knowledge systems that once made Africa a great continent.
“You are going out as creators of solutions. You are the very spirit of this University. You are the spirit of the new Malawi we want – a nation of innovators.
“Madam Vice-Chancellor and all graduating students, out there, everyone expects someone to employ them. But I have in the past shared a story about three people: Everyone, Someone and Nobody. And here goes the story.
*Everyone wanted Someone to employ them.
But there is Nobody called Someone.
In the end, Nobody employed Everyone.*
“Let us stop thinking that Someone will come from somewhere to create fortune for us. We are the creators of our fortunes. And Malawi is a land of many fortunes. It all depends on whether you choose to see the positive side or the negative side of this country.
“Let me also share with you another story which I have shared before — two men went to an island to find out if they could open a new factor for making shoes. They went sent by one master but to bring home independent reports.
“When they came to the island, they found that nobody was wearing shoes. In fact, the people of the island had never heard of anything called shoes.
“The two men came back to their boss with two different reports, two different perspectives. The first man said it would be a waste of time and money to build a shoe factory on the island because the people were poor, barefoot and did not even know what shoes are.
“The second man said he had found a great shoe market because nobody was wearing shoes. The master listened to the second man and started a very successful shoe business on the island.
“The lesson of us is that we must learn to see opportunities where everyone sees problems. Every problem can be an opportunity.
“That is why people come to our country, they find us poor, make money for themselves and leave us poor.
“I am delighted to see that this University is teaching the spirit of entrepreneurship. We must be aggressive in the spirit of creating new businesses.
“I am delighted to note that this University teaches entrepreneurship for every program. Good education must be balanced and practical. We do not teach knowledge for the sake of knowledge.
“I know some of you who went through colonial education in this country. We would be told to dissect an insect and label its parts. But what is the use of such knowledge?
“We must never be afraid to break with tradition and start something new. There is always the first time for doing something new.
“I commend this University for beginning with a new spirit. Malawians have never heard of strikes and boycotting classes since this University began five years ago.
“Let me also commend the private sector for participating in the development of this University. The University exists to serve Government and the private sector alike.
“It is in the interest of the private sector to participate in the affairs of the University because the outcomes of the University affect us all.
I commend you for the problem-solving spirit that is growing in this University. I know that you have your internal challenges from time to time.
“It is a human condition there shall always be problems as long as we exist. But you have found a way of resolving your challenges with listening to and reasoning with one another.
“Students, lecturers and management have learnt the secret of engaging one another in progressive reasoning. And you have lived up to the expectations of Malawians.
“As a result of being focused; as a result of this understanding that the University is a community of learning that demands peace at all times; the University has achieved a lot in a lot in a short time.
“It is impressing to see growing infrastructure the University is constructing to improve the teaching and learning environment. But I am also aware of your needs such as inadequate staff houses and students’ hostels.
“My Government will work on these problems. I am glad that we have solved the water problem and you now have water from Mulanje Mountain.
“Above all, you have shown that as a country, we can only develop in a peaceful environment. The University must demand peace at all times.
“When our existence of peace is threatened, the University must stand on the rostrum and demand peace. In the face of evil, silence is collusion.
“Let me conclude in this way. Today, you have begun a long journey across mountains of challenges and conquests.
“Success is possible. Go with the whole of your spirit. Go and show us to believe in our country. Let us go believing in ourselves more than ever!
“God Bless You All! And God Bless Malawi! Thank You!”