"It seems Zambian presidents have become obsessed with being conferred a doctorate. It all started with Dr Kaunda (admittedly it was in fashion then), Dr Chiluba followed suit. And now the incumbent President has been conferred with a doctorate," wrote one Thomas Zulu in The Post last Saturday.
Indeed, in less than a decade, two of
According to Wikipedia, the free online encyclopaedia, an honorary degree or a degree honoris causa (Latin: 'for the sake of the honour') is an academic degree for which a university (or other degree-awarding institution) has waived the usual requirements (such as matriculation, residence, study and the passing of examinations). The degree itself is typically a doctorate or, less commonly, a master’s degree, and may be awarded to someone who has no prior connection with the institution in question.
Usually, the online encyclopaedia says, the degree is conferred as a way of honouring a distinguished visitor's contributions to a specific field, or to society in general. The university often derives benefits by association with the person in question.
Not that anybody should begrudge someone so honoured, but at the rate this honour is being dished out especially to Zambia's heads of state, will reduce it to a meaningless and laughable one. Chiluba was awarded his by the
On the other hand, Dr Kaunda was in the distant past, awarded Honorary Doctorates of Law from the Universities of Fordham,
But what are
The university, according to its website, serves a diverse, coeducational student body from across the
Going by these credentials, Harding University is definitely not one of the Ivy League universities, neither is it very well known such that even as Form Fives in the early 1980s, those we used to call "UNZA suspects", that is, those who had the potential of being accepted to university, not an easy feat then, who knew most universities in America by name would never have dreamed of Harding University.
Somebody did mention to me just after President Mwanawasa was granted the accolade that
Now that it is becoming a trend for Plot One residents to be awarded degrees honoris causa, I am sure the next occupant, if he will not be a holder of an earned LLD or PhD, will also work hard to attract the eye of a generous uni for one.
Maybe this should be the time as a nation to start thinking of sending people to State House with already earned PhDs or LLDs so that they are not distracted with the acquisition of titles when in office.