President Mutharika answers questions

“I want to pay tribute to the Oxford Union and the Oxford University at large. It is highly commendable that have opened the space for a conversation such as this. It is befitting for a University, any university, to be open to ideas. It therefore speaks so highly of the maturity of Oxford in that it is a university that creates an open space for interrogation, for questioning, even if it means self-interrogation,” said Mutharika, a former Head of Law Faculty at Washington Law University in St Louis.

Wading in into the academic recent battles christened by “Rhodes Must Fall” by South African students, the President said there is no history that can be wished away in human existence especially colonialism which was a complex history.

“That cannot be erased by demolishing a statue of an imperialist who built the very halls in which you sit to learn about evils of imperialism. But suppose we take down that “dark blot” of our past, what do we do with the many buildings that Cecil Rhodes built in this university – the buildings that we happily use? I take it that you have read the will of Cecil Rhodes and seen the treasure he invested in this University. This was the money he got from the so-called poor Africa.”

“The point is: we cannot change the fate of Cecil Rhodes – a man whom fate had it that he must be a student of this University just as you are. While we cannot change the fate Cecil Rhodes, we can change the fate of those who continue being victims of the past. This change begins with what we are doing right now – opening cross-cultural dialogues,” he added.

The President said open and honest dialogue is the only way people could redefine the future and erase the troubled past by learning from it.