Saturday, 29 June 2019


The University of Zambia (UNZA) yesterday conferred honorary doctorates in law  to President Mnangagwa and his Zambian counterpart Edgar Lungu in recognition of transformative leadership exhibited by the two leaders in their countries.

The two Presidents, who are lawyers by profession, are graduates of UNZA and both attended the colourful 48th special graduation ceremony that drew an audience of a diversity of dignitaries and members of the public from the two countries here at Mulungushi International Conference Centre.

President Mnangagwa graduated with an LLB degree at UNZA in 1975 while President Lungu graduated under the same programme in 1981.

The University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Luke Mumba, said out of the over 50 000 alumni members in the institution’s 52 years of existence, Presidents Mnangagwa and Lungu had  distinguished themselves above the rest by rising to become leaders of the two great nations at the same time.

He said the two had also spiced their time in leadership through championing transformative reforms aimed at enhancing the lives of their citizens and impacting positively on the broader African development agenda.

“The University Senate has conferred the two Presidents with this rare honour. We are one university that has produced three heads of states – the late Levy Mwanawasa, Edgar Lungu and Emmerson Mnangagwa,” he said amid applause from the large gathering.

“The greatest reward for us as a university is to see our products, our students’ reputation being defined by what these two have done. As the UNZA alumni we encourage you to continue to lead well and prosper our two nations.”

A senior University executive, Professor Kumar Baboo, outlined the rich profiles of the two leaders, detailing how they both grew up from poor backgrounds and through determination and focused zeal, contributed to their countries’ history and were elevated to current positions as Presidents.

Prof Baboo tracked President Mnangagwa’s childhood years which were shared by both countries and how he joined the liberation struggle as a young lad and escaped the death sentence under the ruthless Rhodesian regime.

Despite this rough experience, he said, President Mnangagwa remained focused and went on to pursue his education, graduated at UNZA in 1975 and later became fiercely engaged in the struggle until independence in 1980.

In both pre and post independent Zimbabwe, Prof Baboo said President Mnangagwa has been consistent in his selfless desire to serve his country and had always sought to unify his people and achieve reconciliation.

As a lawyer and Minister of Justice, Speaker of Parliament and Leader of the House of Assembly President Mnangagwa had a great influence on the Zimbabwean politics and beyond as he supervised crafting and review of many legal instruments that sought to transform the country and enhance the rule of law, he said.

Prof Baboo said President Mnangagwa played a key role in the constitution making process and had endeared himself with masses through his pragmatic approach to governance issues and legislative arguments.

He said since November 2017, when former President Robert Mugabe resigned, E D’s takeover has seen Zimbabwe quickly champion a number of economic and governance reforms as well as renewed international relations after years of isolation.

Similarly, Prof Baboo said President Lungu has become the face of a transformed Zambia since taking over  in 2015 following the death of Michael Sata.

He said President Lungu has presided over several legal reform processes including leading Zambians to unite and have a shared vision of peace and long term prosperity. Under President Lungu, Zambia has become a centre of renewed investment.

Upon arrival in Zambia yesterday, President Mnangagwa paid a courtesy call on President Lungu at the Zambia State House where the two leaders held closed door discussions before proceeding to the graduation event..

The President was received at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport by Zambia Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Joseph Milanji and Zimbabwean Ambassador to Zambia, Cde Getrude Takawira. He was accompanied by Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira, Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Cde George Charamba and other senior Government officials.

President Mnangagwa returned home last night. Sunday Mail


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