The $79 million imposing Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must), at Ndata in Thyolo, near the late President Bingu wa Mutharika’s opulent residence, is waiting for President Joyce Banda to assent to a Bill which Parliament passed during its last meeting last year.
The Bill puts in place legal instruments to facilitate creation of the University, a dream project of Mutharika, before the hand-over of the 3, 500 student bed infrastructure, built with Chinese grant, to the Malawi government.
Secretary for Education Responsible for Malawi Universities Development Programme, MacPhail Magwira, said this and delays experienced by the contractor to do final inner fittings has delayed the process where the Chinese government was expected to hand over the facility to Malawi government last month.
“As you must know the bill was passed and it is now awaiting presidential assent which will require that the current university council be dissolved and a new one put together,” said Magwira.
He also said the contractor delayed in completing the internal finishes as they were awaiting a consignment of some fittings.
“We hope that by mid January the handover will take place,” he said.
He said that the infrastructure is complete and all that is remaining among other things is the installation of chairs in an auditorium whose capacity is 2, 800 people.
He said at the moment they have received CVs of people who are interested to be in the council and teach at Must from the three public universities that include University of Malawi and Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources and are awaiting more from Mzuzu University.
“The team will set up the beginning of the University,” said Magwira.
The other gray area that was delaying the opening of the university was land ownership which was being facilitated to transfer from private hands to public.
Minister of Lands Duncan Phoya said in an interview recently that everything is being done to ensure that by the time of the hand-over, the transfer process from Bıneth Trust to the Malawi Government would have been completed.
“Let me take this opportunity to inform you that Bıneth Trust is being extremely co-operative in this regard as it is also their strong desire to see to it that the late President’s publicly declared wish is fulfilled,” Phoya said.
Education, Science and Technology Minister Kazembe presented Bill No. 31 of 2012: Malawi University of Science and Technology which was passed in the last sitting of Parliament.
“This Bill will particularly define the creation of the university council, appointment of principals, establishment of schools, colleges and faculties within the college,” Kazembe told Parliament last year.
The University, which was initially set to be built in Lilongwe before Mutharika shifted it to his home area, will have 3, 500 beds in eight hostels which will accommodate equal numbers of males and females.
While Malawi University of Science and Technology’s vision is to promote increased investment in human capital so as to turn Malawi into a scientific and industrial nation, its mission is to turn the country into a nation of achievers with the ability to develop, research, adapt and harness science and technology
The institution aims at assisting Malawi achieve a quantum leap in research, transmission and application of science and technology so as to bridge the gap between Africa and the industrialized world, and to empower Malawi and other African countries to contribute positively to global growth and development.