After rigorous study, Major General Reuben Ngwenya on Friday formally attained his PhD during a commencement ceremony which took place at Malawi Institute of Management (MIM) premises in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe. Ngwenya was studying with Bolton University of UK through MIM.
But who is Major General Dr Rueben Ngwenya; what has he achieved and what was he studying to earn this PhD?
Major General Dr Ngwenya the Child.
According to the profile and doctoral citation which was read aloud during the congregation, Major General Reuben Ngwenya (Retired) was born on 24thSeptember, 1960 from a family of three at Ndidani Village, TA Kampingo Sibande, Mzimba District. He is married to Annie, a nurse, and has three children; Vusimuzi, Thandekile and Sibongile.
He did his primary education at Emoneni FP School, 6 km away from his home village. In 1971, his father, who was working in South Africa, sent him to a boarding school at Mombera Mission, present day Lunjika. Major General Ngwenya was then in standard 6 and was the youngest child at a boarding school at the age of 11.
He did his Secondary education at Lunjika Secondary school.
Major General Ngwenya (retired) feels that his life at a boarding school from the tender age gave him an opportunity and courage not only to live and work with different people, but also concentrate on education.
Ngwenya: The Military Man
In December 1978, he joined the Malawi Defence Force as an Officer Cadet. Thanks to his wife, who was a fiancée then, that she agreed that he joins the Army.
He went to Malawi Armed Forces College in Salima for one year training together with 20 other Officer Cadets.
In September, 1979, just 2 months before graduation to be commissioned as an Officer, he was chosen as the best Officer Cadet and was sent to Sandhurst Military Academy in the United Kingdom.
He graduated as a Lieutenant at a Parade presided over by Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of UK.
When he returned to Malawi, Major General Reuben Ngwenya was appointed Platoon Commander at 3rd Battalion in Mzuzu.
Major General Dr Reueben Ngwenya, the Leader
Since then, he has served in various positions including; Instructor at Malawi Armed Forces College in Salima; Commanding Officer 1st Battalion in Zomba, where he was responsible for the whole Southern Region; Commanding Officer Parachute Battalion in Salima; Deputy Chief of Staff at Malawi Defence Force Headquarters and Director of Military Intelligence.
He also held important positions such as; Director General of National Intelligence Bureau in the Office of the President and Cabinet; Senior Lecturer at Mzuzu University; Appointed member of the Malawi Development Advisory Council by late former President Bingu Wa Mutharika; Advisor to the President of Malawi on National Security; Ambassador of the Republic of Malawi to Japan for 5 years (2011-2016) and also accredited to Australia, Brunei, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa and South Korea.
Major General Ngwenya is proud that he is one of the rare and exceptional Ambassadors, who managed to successfully serve three Presidents; His Excellency Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika, Her Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda and His Excellency Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika, as most Ambassadors only serve under one Presidency.
He also participated in Peace Keeping and Security Operations of the Nacala Corridor in Mozambique, when there was Civil War.
Major General Dr Reuben Ngwenya, the Scholar
Major General Ngwenya attended several other courses including;
1) Master’s Degree in Strategic Management from the University of Derby, UK (2005).
2) Certificate in Multilateral Diplomacy at United Nations University, Japan (2012)
3) Master’s Degree in Defence Management and International Relations at the Royal College of Defence and Security Studies, London, United Kingdom (2007)
5)Public Sector Administration, Malawi Institute of Management, 2000
6)National Security and Development (Taiwan), 1998
7)International Humanitarian Law and Law of the Armed Conflict (Zimbabwe) 1991
8)Strategic Intelligence Course (USA), 1986
9)Airborne/Parachuting and Special Forces (USA) , 1984
Major General Dr Rueben Ngwenya’s Remarkable achievements
Major General Ngwenya (retired) remarkable achievements include:
·Leader of the Malawi Delegation to the United Nations conferences on prevention of proliferation of small arms and land mines. This resulted in Malawi borders with Mozambique being physically cleared/free of Land mines/bombs in 2007, beating the UN deadline of 2009.
·Architect of the current Malawi National Intelligence Bureau in 2005.
·Ambassador of Malawi to Japan. He coordinated various investment and development programmes from Japan to Malawi.
·Sourced donation of 10 modern Dialysis machines from Tokushukai Medical Group (an NGO) installed at Kamuzu Central Hospital.
Awards Major General Dr Rueben Ngwenya Received
Major General Ngwenya has received a number of awards such as; Best Platoon Commander, 3rd battalion(1981); Best Student, Intelligence Course, South Africa (1982); Best Allied student, Special Forces Course, Fort Bragg, Carolina, USA (1985); Best Foreign student, Command and Staff Course, Defence College, Nairobi, Kenya (1997); Meritorious Service Medal for outstanding performance and exemplary character, Malawi Defence Force (1998);and Overall best student at the Royal College of Defence and Security Studies, London, UK, 2007, where the award was presented by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the 2nd.
PhD Thesis: What was he studying and of how importance is his study to Malawi?
In his PhD, he investigated the effectiveness of Collaborative Leadership among the Security Actors to achieve sustainable National Security and Prosperity.
The major findings indicate that;
1) While Security organizations in Malawi are working together, it is at a limited scale, resulting in continued threats to security such as cross border and internal crime, illegal migration, corruption, political intolerance and violence among others.
2) There is lack of clear focus on National Security and priority goals, due to different understanding of the new concept of National Security.
3) There is need to promote national cultural practices and change individual mindset in order to share power, influence and train security leaders together.
Following this study, he is recommending:
1)With utmost urgency, develop a Practical inter-agency National Security Policy and Strategy Framework called “NACUSSEPA” that would outline written protocols and modalities for all security actors to work together in a collaborative manner, which is not there at the moment.
2) Creation of a joint National Security Coordinating Office that would have personnel representation from the core security organizations and other institutions as may be deemed necessary. This will enable effective and systematic fusion of all essential information and joint action plans.
3) Empower the National Security Advisor with practical legal mandates and authority to enable him/her coordinate with other security actors to effect meaningful collaboration and assessment of the security situation.
From us all at this publication, we can only join all people of good will in congratulating Major General Dr Reuben Ngwenya on this achievement.