Sunday, March 3, 2024

Zambian engineers are maintenance engineers and not innovative-Prof Chirwa

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RDA senior manager for public relations Royce Saili (far left) explaining the operations of the Agency to UNZA vice chancellor Stephen Simukanga (next to her) and EIZ president Bernard Chiwala (next to Prof Simukanga) among others.
RDA senior manager for public relations Royce Saili (far left) explaining the operations of the Agency to UNZA vice chancellor Stephen Simukanga (next to her) and EIZ president Bernard Chiwala (next to Prof Simukanga) among others . This was in Livingstone  during the 2014 Engineering Skills Competition and Expo at Livingstone Institute of Business and Engineering Studies (LIBES).

Copperbelt University (CBU) visiting research professor Clive Chirwa noted that most Zambian engineers were maintenance engineers and not innovative.

Prof Chirwa was speaking at Zambezi Sun Hotel in Livingstone on Saturday night during the Engineering Institution of Zambia (EIZ) 2014 National Symposium and Annual General Meeting (AGM) Gala Dinner.

Prof Chirwa said it was sad that Zambia had to import products such as spoons which could be produced locally from copper.

Professor Clive Chirwa said there was need to move the engineering profession in Zambia to a higher level of excellence.

And Transport, Works, Supply and Communication Minister Yamfwa Mukanga urged Engineers in Zambia to ‘resurrect ‘and take up their
correct positions of promoting in the country.

Mr Mukanga said engineers needed to know that they had solutions to whatever problems that society faced and hence they should ‘resurrect’ by taking up their correct positions in the economy.

Mr Mukanga, who is also a qualified engineer, said it was time engineers ‘resurrected’ and ensured that they contributed effectively to the development process of the nation.

Mr Mukanga urged engineers to carry out self introspection on their contribution to the economy as there would be no sustainable development in the absence of engineers.

“As engineers, we need to know that we have the solution to whatever problems that this nation may have.

All solutions we need are supposed to be engineering solutions. Without engineering, nothing can be done,” he said.

He said he was wondering why EIZ picked the Easter period for its symposium and AGM when the entire world were celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ but he later understood that engineers needed to resurrect in the manner they worked.

“Next time when we meet as engineers, we should have moved from one place to a higher level.

[pullquote]Transport, Works, Supply and Communication Minister Yamfwa Mukanga said he wanted to be innovative and not only being a mere maintenance engineer.[/pullquote]

Time has come when we need to inspire our children and those in schools to become engineers. I want to be one of the engineers who will have contributed to changes in the country,” he said.

Mr Mukanga said he wanted to be innovative and not only being a mere maintenance engineer.

And speaking at the same dinner, EIZ president Bernard thanked the Government for being supportive to the Institute in terms of funding.

“This year, the Government allocated K2.1 million to EIZ and we are grateful. There has been an appreciable movement in terms of membership and increasing profitability in the last two years,” he said.

Mr Chiwala has been re-elected as EIZ president while George Sitali is vice president for policy, public relations and national development.

Peter Kapala went unopposed as vice president for finance and administration and Stephen Simukanga is vice president for membership and continuing professional development.

Other council members Abel Ng’andu, Duncan Ngoma, Patrick Kampengele, Robinson Misitala, Muya Mundia and Christopher Mubemba.

During the dinner, some students from Livingstone Institute of Engineering Studies (LIBES), Choma Trades, Lusaka Business and Technical College (LBTC) as well as Northern Technical College (NORTEC) won various awards from the just ended 2014 Engineering Skills Competition.

109 COMMENTS

    • Prof Chirwa is right.All those BENG guys who used to walk with their heads high at UNZA have not done anything noticeable for Zambia.Its all maintenance! Perhaps the innovative ones left the country

    • Prof Chirwa has a huge role to play in the development of this nation. If Zambia Railways was to have been managed profesionally from the start, Prof Chirwa would still have been there and not this PF Cadre.

      I want to see a Zambia with accomplshed Engineers such as Prof Chirwa, Hon Chris Yaluma among others taking very strartegic Leadership and Advisory roles in this Country, and I see that coming soon.,

    • Pro Chirwa walasa (spot on). Nichigayo chamaka sure twalifilwa lelo ukasambilila nilekaleka. Ubunonshi bwabafye pama pepala.

    • This “maintenance” culture is all due to poor education (at UNZA itself) and wrong attitudes about what an engineer actually does.

      Time to correct it is long overdue.

    • Folks

      We should not be quick to condemn our engineers and look down upon them. These are men and women with the know how and capacity to do anything provided a suitable environment is availed to them.

      Engineers do not operate in a vacuum. They need to be propped up by government regulation and massive support. If we take for example the road construction venture for which PF prides itself, who are the major contractors ? Its foreign companies because they enable Sata and stooges to pocket huge amounts dollars via their huge quotes. All the machines used in the construction industry can be reverse engineered if the government can make deliberate efforts to fund such a projects. Most of them are way off patent life span so they can be copied and twicked a bit.

      PF CNP

    • Its not true that most Zambian engineers are just maintenance engineers unless special reference is made to those at home. Some of us who passed through UNZA are here leading design teams because we are inspired by governments which support local engineering companies and backs them through suitable regulations.

      Lets take the case of Prof Chirwa. He wanted to change the culture at ZR and begin to inspire young engineers to at least begin to invent, design and manufacture railway products so the ZR can import less and expand to all parts of Zambia. Guess what, the PF government stooges who know nothing about product design engineering frustrated him because they thought that would do away with out sourcing their best dollar earner.

      With PF in power no progress will be made in this…

    • How can we aspire for excellence as engineers, doctors, nurses, teachers, as a people if we continue have low standards for leadership. You have to go no further than statehouse to see the nurture of the problem. The most mediocre elements of our society rise to positions of influence and then frustrate those who are capable & willing to improve. That is how the dream has been stifled. These mediocre leaders can only prosper if the population remains mediocre & weak. WE THE PEOPLE HAVE TO DEMAND FOR MORE THEN WE CAN TALK ABOUT EXCELLENCE!

    • Yet the question still remains…What has Engineer Chirwa done for Zambia?

      Point to ONE thing – just ONE – that is a homegrown solution in use right now in Zambia that was designed and built by Chirwa.

      Words are cheap.

      What did he do with the first chance he got to run Zambia Railways? He illegally tried to award ZR contracts to his shady UK firm.

    • The problem is that Prof Chirwa is a PF hostage. They way he is being held hostage is the same way most Zambians engineers are. There is not enough drive and political will from the government to challenge engineers to produce anything with proper funding.

      All the money spent on f00lish bye elections, would have been put to good use if it can be used to create massive engineering workshops where enthusiastic engineers can go and experiment with their creations.

      Not much is required in terms of machinery. A number of hydraulic presses and lathe machines can do trick. Metal working equipment, plastic moulders and industries to produce refined materials such as steels, and alloys, polymers plastic pellets, glass shaping industries. With this in place then challenge the engineers.

    • ME TOO. I WISH THIS MAN HAD STAYED WITH ZRL AT LEAST FOR FIVE YEARS. BUT BECAUSE OTHER ENGINEERS SAW THAT, “HERE COMES REAL INNOVATION”, THEY SOUGHT TO SABOTAGE HIM INSTEAD OF LEARNING AND GETTING INSPIRATION FROM HIM. THAT IS ZAMBIA FOR YOU. MA ENGINEERS BA BWALI NE CIMENA. ON THE OTHER HAND, CHIRWA IS PARTLY TO BLAME. HE LOST DIRECTION OF REPORTING STRUCTURE OF THE APPOINTING AUTHORITY DUE TO HIS UNNECESSARY PRIDE AND HIS CHILDISH LANGUAGE OF, “I GET SO MUCH IN THE UK SO PAY ME THIS MUCH OR ELSE I WILL GO BACK”, REALLY MADE COMMON ZAMBIANS TO LOSE. BA ATANGA DON’T EVEN THINK OF ELECTRICAL TRAIN. THE CHAP IS SATISFIED WITH FI DOBADOBA. THIS IS VERY FRUSTRATING, TO SAY THE LIST.

    • #1.5 WHILE I AGREE WITH YOU THAT THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE SUPPORTIVE OF OUR ENGINEERS, OUR ENGINEERS SHOULD ALSO HAVE A TENDENCY OF FORMING UP ENGINEERING COMPANIES STRAIGHT FROM UNI. AND NOT ALL OF THEM WANTING TO WORK FOR LENCO. TAKE FOR INSTANCE SHONGA STEEL. THAT IS AN EXAMPLE OF ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE IF AT ALL IT STILL EXISTS. THIS COMPANY WAS FORMED UP BY TWO PURE BREEDS: MULAISHO (an economist) AND MUBANGA (an engineer). THEIR PRODUCTS WERE OF INTERNATIONAL QUALITY. PLEASE OUR ENGINEERS, THINK. YOU WERE TRAINED TO THINK AND SOLVE PROBLEMS. BE INNOVATIVE. WHY COULDN’T PTC (by then) MAKE PHONES? BETTER STILL WHY COULDN’T ZESCO MAKE STOVES AND FRIDGES? IT REALLY BOGGLES MY MIND. TULELYAFYE UBWALI SURE BA ENGINEER!

    • Prof Chirwa is right, but it’s not by choice or their fault that Zambian engineers are not good in aspects such as engineering design – you can’t be good at what you’re not exposed to. As a country you need to have a good culture of continuous infrastructure development (i.e. new infrastructure and upgrades of the exisiting) in order for your engineers to be involved in such activities – it’s like expecting a doctor to be very good at his work in a country where no one gets sick!!!. For many years, government and Zambian industry in general has over relied on foreign engineering expertise without insisting on skills transfer to locals. It’s only in the last 7 years or so that the construction industry in Zambia has seen a boom, so let’s make the most of it by giving our own a…

  1. But this minister is the labelled foolish one who can respect him, the guy carries around that stupid look on his face.

    • Would rather Hon Christopher Yaluma was the one officiating other than ichipuba chesu. Hon Yaluma is more accomplished as an Engineer than this guy, and obviously there level of innovation is different.

  2. It’s not necessary to refer to someone as a “qualified engineer” – lest we inappropriately talk of qualified Doctor, Lawyer, Teacher, Pilot, Scientist, Soldier, Army Officer, General etc

  3. But you engineers are selfish, you never mention Artisan’s as if you can do the so called innovation or maintence jobs alone.

    • Very unfortunately our engineers are for academic qualifications and job search/employment purposes only, once employed anyhow they take drinking too much and forget about innovative productivity and further research to develop this virgin nation which is still crying for development….sorry ‘mwandini.’ It is sad that even in this jubilee year our qualified engineers are still maintenance engineers of other people’s products.

  4. If he is a qualified engineer how can a grade seven constable and scumbag call Yamfwa Mukanga ichipuba?? Please just call him ichipuba as he has failed to put his engineering skills to use.

  5. Prof. Chirwa is right. Zambian Engineers are maintenance Engineers. Others are just always learning on the job on the various projects going on in the country like road construction and in the power industry. But this is not Entirely their fault. Government needs to step in and entrust Zambian Engineers with big projects as designers, and contractors. They may only use outsiders as consultants to ensure quality control for the mean time. We must begin using our Engineers NOW, or we will never ever start until Jesus comes.

    • SPOT ON THE GOVT SHOULD BE MORE SUPPORTIVE WHILE OUR ENGINEERS MUST ALSO BE BOTHERED ABOUT THEIR QUALIFICATIONS’ STAND. JUST LOOK AT THE HOUSES IN ZAMBIA. MOST OF THE HOUSES DESIGNED BY OUR ARCHITECTURAL ENGINEERS LIVE MUCH TO BE DESIRED. THEY HAVE NO PRIDE OF BEING ENGINEERS AT ALL WHEN DESIGNING. EVEN SOMEONE WHO DID NOT GO TO SCHOOL CAN DESIGN BY FAR BETTER. ZAMBIA NATIONAL BUILDING SOCIETY (or is it housing authority?) EMPLOYS QUALIFIED ENGINEERS IN THE SAME. BUT WHEN ONE LOOKS AT THE PRODUCTS- BULANDA BUSHALA.

  6. Not just Maintenance Engineers, most of them work as Plant Fitters (Just replace what’s in stores). We need to move towards what Prof Chirwa has indicated as a nation.

    Kudos to you prof.

  7. As an Engineer who worked in the Zambian Mining industry for many years (RCM, ZCCM – Engineering project offices) where we had to be innovative and deal with expansion of the Mining Divisions, I agree with Mr C Chirwa that most Engineers in Zambia work as maintenance Engineers, can’t argue with that.
    On a lighter note, the only minor argument I have with him is the idea of using copper to make spoons. Bad idea?. But not to worry, point taken. If it is to be it is up to us.

    • @cactus….
      ….that’s exactly what Clive is talking about…..just because the whites or who ever invented a spoon did not make it out of copper therefore its not feasible to make one out of copper….no…In other countries copper is ‘diamond’, very expensive they cant afford to waste it on spoon manufacturing…but we are a copper producing country…big time but you can travel from lvstone to Chillis, you wont see anything suggesting that we are a ‘big time’ copper producing country. KK tried panelling that building near Kafue round about….In china some building are decorated with copper panels which is supposed to be a common site in Zed
      Its time our executive hotels and lodges stocked copper based coloured spoons, knives and folks…that’s innovation coated with pride…

    • Cactus. You can mix copper with other metals to produce desired characteristics. Eg. brass is an alloy of copper and zinc used for applications such as locks, bearings doorknobs, gears, ammunition casings, valves, plumbing and electrical appliances.

    • @Spartan, I fully understand that C. Chirwa implied CU alloy and not pure Copper. That’s a no brainer. I am just wondering whether size-for-size such a spoon would compete with a conventional stainless steel one on the Zambian market in terms of cost and durability. After all we don’t want that lady vigorously washing and scraping cinder out of her pots after cooking, to discover she can’t do that anymore with these new more expensive spoons, do we? Food for thought. But of course, there are a lot of things that can be made within Zambia from our Copper. i.e. Cottage industries like in the far east.

    • I ALSO AGREE WITH YOU ABOUT USING COPPER FOR SPOONS. BA CHIRWA BALEFWAYA UKOCHA ABANTU MUKANWA? BUT MAYBE HE MEANT ORNAMENTAL SPOONS. HE SHOULD HAVE SAID COOKING PANS. AS COPPER IS A VERY GOOD CONDUCTOR OF HEAT ENERGY A LITTLE AMOUNT OF ENERGY COULD BE USED TO ACCOMPLISH COOKING IN A LITTLE TIME. BUT LETS NOT BE CRITICAL ON THIS ONE. LET’S EMPHASISE ON THE POINT CHIRWA IS STRESSING.

    • Manufacturing is not the problem but the patents on that blade. … a simple plastic shaving head has enough patents on it to put off any innovator in the grooming sector.

  8. Our engineers in zambia and africa at large we would like you to stand up and be counted bring up some invention indigenous african not just mainten something korean , russian japanese or germany etc we want to zambian own product then you will be respected

  9. UNZA is the genesis of all this malaise!
    Look at some of the funny ideas these chaps came up with to address traffic congestion in Lusaka!
    Real engineers rarely put on suits and are in the field most of the time!
    Ours love to do office work and send Artisans in the field.
    To be honest, our Artisans are the Engineers, very innovative fellows!

    • Well consulting engineers work in the office and there is a reason why “artisan” spend 2-3 years in higher education compared to engineers who spend 4 years.

  10. Engineers are the least respcted individuals in Zambia. There is very little recognition on the part of government

    • An Engineer worth their salt does not cry to be recognized by anyone.
      Their innovation, imagination and Artistic ability in their work will draw that recognition, appreciation and the money!
      An Engineer with no imagination is not different from a Soldier on the battlefield who lacks imagination. There are so many Engineering hazards I see around Lusaka alone. Engineers should pick these up and give to Muvi TV as a way of raising awareness of these problems.
      The problem is that our Education system has misplaced the bright minds.
      Some of the smart minds have been wasted studying disciplines with little relevance to the day to day engineering challenges.

  11. This is acountry where even toothpicks are made from China,and this is a country whose enginers can not even work on drainages, SHAME ON YOU ENGINERS. PROF. IS RIGHT

  12. True and its not the government’s fault. Even those gone abroad are not innovative just working in maintenance. Just a name that they are engineers.

    Its time to challenge the west , Zambian engineers !!!

  13. @Cacutus
    Yes, we can make spoons from copper, just tin or silver plate them to avoid corrosion or oxidation (reacting with oxygen).

    Remember your chemistry lessons on electrolysis?
    Good day

    • @Wiseman, Prof Chirwa implied using CU alloy and not pure Copper because pure Copper is ductile. That’s a no brainer. As for tin or silver platting, I am just wondering whether size-for-size such a spoon would compete with a conventional stainless steel one on the Zambian market in terms of cost and durability. After all we don’t want that lady vigorously washing and scraping cinder out of her pots after cooking, to discover she can’t do that anymore with these new more expensive spoons, do we? Food for thought. But of course, there are a lot of things that can be made within Zambia from our Copper. i.e. Cottage industries like in the far east.

  14. @Dim wit walasa ! Artisan are more innovative than de so called Engineers…. Some engineers don’t knw de operating system of machines…shame shame …. Go c chirwa go tell them….

  15. But given a small chance these engineers plunder. Engineers don’t understand sacrifice like medical personnel. All you have is theories and endless boastful academics.

  16. Chirwa is right, of course.

    But it would be a mistake to think the problem of the ultra-low human development index (HDI) only affects engineers working in Zambia.

    1. We have Economists and yet they do not seem to know how to stop inflation heading to double digits now.

    2. We have CIMA, ACCA, Business Studies and all sorts of Accountancy graduates and yet the majority of business is being run by Indians and other foreigners. So few entrepreneurs from this group.

    4. We have been churning out medical Doctors from Unza and yet we run to SA or UK when we need serious medical attention.

    5. We have Architects, Land Economists, etc and look around Lusaka and tell me if you can see their work.

    I can go on…

    • @John. I’ll add one more. They are constantly traveling for conference/workshops and tours abroad to increase their knowledge and experience first hand how it’s done. But alas all they learn evaporates when they land at KK International Airport and they never implement it.

  17. There are many strands within the Engineering profession, so blaming all is extremely sad; but the point is clear. There are engineered solutions around you; however, do not expect miracles when your problems reach insurmountable levels. In Zambia we neglect things and expect engineers to solve them miraculously. For instance, you all know that the population has been steadily increasing, yet you never questioned the then poor policy on increasing the capacity of water reticulation, roads, drainage, sewage treatment plants for over 25 years. Now that you have built houses in Chalala, you think then realise the importance of these things and you want the “Engineer” to resolve the issue? Its called fire fighting; no chance, or its too late.

    • @Rigoe, while what you have said is true, I go back to question as to why engineers (environmental, city planning, etc.) +++ sorry i put them all in one basket+++ why would they not advise against the up hazard building of house in Chalala in the first place?

    • @Namona: Good question; but a wrong one too. The land is issued to people by the Ministry of Lands; people pay for service charges; no services are provided, so who is to blame? Secondly, there is what is called “desired path” in development. Where were the politicians when people that desired houses were building shanty compounds? Meaning, plans did not get approved at council in time to curtail the expansion of compounds. Don’t blame planners or engineers at the council, they work under difficult conditions due to politics. Plans are there, but “votes” overrule those charged to develop cities. In the end, you blame engineers because you do not know the political dynamics within developmental projects at city level.

  18. Wow! Hold your fire guys. Hold your fire on Engineers. Looks like there is a free-for-all avalanche of missiles coming out of this blog aimed at Engineers and there is no counter fire. So, notwithstanding what I said @10 above, please note that Prof Chirwa did not say Zambian Engineers CAN’T. He said we ARE NOT doing it to meet demand. The two statements are very different.
    The fact of the matter is innovation is happening albeit to a small scale. And contrary to popular belief, innovation and invention is not exclusive to Engineers only. So, first ask yourself what innovation have you put forward for the good of all. Don’t worry too much about the integrity of your invention because Engineer will step in and deal with that. e.g. the relationship between an Architect who designs fancy ..

    • Cont’d…. fancy buildings or bridges and a Civil Engineer who steps in to do stress analysis and recommends methods of support and reinforcement. Same difference. So we are all in this together. If it is to be it is up to us.
      And yes, there are inventions done by Africans, including Zambians. E.g. got to KAMATOO – Valuing The African Genius *************

    • Cont’d .. fancy buildings or bridges and a Civil Engineer who steps in to do stress analysis and recommends methods of support and reinforcement. Same difference. So we are all in this together. If it is to be it is up to us.
      And yes, there are inventions done by Africans, including Zambians. E.g. google KAMATOO – Valuing The African Genius

  19. The lesson, as far as I am concerned, is for government to respect all professions in the country; accord them an enabling environment to perform their stuff. Most of all, to allow informed decisions developed with the help of think tanks or research and development. We need a paradigm shift from politically driven solutions, Cadre-ism, to knowledge based solutions. For instance, when did you ever see an expert being consulted over an issue affecting Zambia? But you see mayors, MPs, Ministers interviewed over issues they may have no clue what so ever. In short allow the “educated” to be central to the decision making process; and things will change. Its a huge paradigm shift which needs to start from the media; everything is too political hence fresh ideas never flourish.

  20. After their Unza/CBU BSc most of them are never involved in any kind of research. it is time to work for money. Those who go abroad for greener pastures get involved in some research because most of the companies or institutions they join have deliberate research programmes. Examples of non-inovative Engineers in Zambia are Engineers in Agriculture. They have lamentably failed to improve farming technologies for my grandmother who still uses old (the years 1800), traditional, slow farming technologies in the village.

  21. Absent is Prof Atanga to this top cream of Zambian engineers conference, how come he boasts of revamping Zambia railway Limited to a vibrant modern transport system. Surely, an engineer worth their title is supposed to be present at this meeting, even PF minister is in attendance, who is this Attanga any way and why does PF govt treat him with preference selectivity?

    • In Senagal they have contracted a French/ North Korean consortium to construct a high speed rail network similar to the France’s TGV at a cost of $1.2 billion, now that’s how you modernise a rail network and create proper skilled jobs not the labourers/casual workers Atanga is creating at ZRL with no transferable skills.
      We laughed at Chriwa when he proposed this.

    • It is the Zambian Engineers who back stabbed Chirwa.His blue print print for ZRL was superb!When he held is presentation at Government complex most Zambian Engineers went there to embarass him and his ideas!Do you know that in this part of Africa,maybe including Malawi and Tanzania,Zambia is the only Country without an electrified railway line?
      Zimbabwe has from Harare to Bulawayo and Bulawayo to Vic Falls and Vic Falls to Botswana ?
      Even DRC has an electrified railway line from Lubumbashi to Kolwezi,Lubumbashi to Kasai and Lubumbashi to Kisanagani! We need to catch up!Prof Chirwa says he will work on elctrifying the railway line and the engineers say its Not possible.So Prof Chirwa is Right about maintenance engineers!

  22. Education is what remains in your daily mind when you have forgotten all that you learnt at school! In short, practice practice on a daily basis makes it perfect and innovates the mind to innovate new ideas. Practicing daily turns our educational theories into habitual realities, hence urge for new ideas, innovations etc…

  23. Sounds a bit cheeky this Chirwa! Engineers will start making spoons! Are zambian engineers going to ‘redesign’ a spoon? Or invent something that resembles a spoon? Come on Chirwa! What have you designed yourself? Engineers are trained to design things and not craft spoons.

  24. If you live in Lusaka, look no further for evidence of the ‘qualification’ of Zambian engineers than the roads: On Lusaka roads, there are three types of road humps; one designed and constructed by Phonix Contractors of Denmark, the other by Shimitzu of Japan and the third by our own Town Engineer, licensed by the Engineering Institution of Zambia. You guessed right; the humps by the Town Engineer are just lumps of concrete dumped on roads with the motive to create fear on motorists. No wonder the sites of the Town Engineer’s humps are strewn with accidents and ripped vehicle under carriages. To negotiate passage over the Town Engineer’s humps, one has to perform the equivalent of a Calypso jig!

    • @John, you have really cracked my ribs…………ati “To negotiate passage over the Town Engineer’s humps, one has to perform the equivalent of a Calypso jig!”……ha ha ha ha ha, really fUUUUUUUUUUNY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. If you are an entrepreneurs and you think tooth pick business is good then provide funding and employ engineers. Engineers are not fools to just start manufacturing something or design something just for the sake of it. design and latter-on manufacturing requires resources. So all you illiterates including “Prof” Chirwa should know that it requires resources to do development. I do not know top now, but speaking as an Engineer who has been exposed to USA and Europen Education, the UNZASU syllabi is competitive. the only problem now is that we only have MSc teaching and no professors.

    • If the govt aggressively promoted and encouraged manufacturing industries I am certain our engineers could produce spoons and forks. It’s such a shame we have to import such items when we have the capacity and ability to produce them locally. The problem is we suffer from an inferiority complex. We value imports highly. Have you noticed how Zambians tend to look down on locally produced items. They would probably never buy anything with a “made in Zambia” tag.

    • @Wantanshi, I disagree with you. Why should Zambians be forced to spend their hard earned cash on substandard and low quality consumer goods/products? Zambians, like other people, are now very well-traveled and exposed to tolerate poor quality stuff. It doesn’t make sense to spend ones income on say a poor quality shoe produced in Zambia by the BATA shoe company (still exist?) when one can spend about the same amount on an Italian manufactured shoe of higher quality and styling.

      Zambian manufacturers will keep loosing out if they don’t improve on quality and styling. This phenomena hit the American car industry hard not too long ago. Due to the superior quality & design of Asian cars, Americans dumped ‘Detroit’, and Asian cars dominated the USA market. Now, America has waken…

  26. Prof. Chirwa you are spot on. Our education system need to be revisited. UNZA and CBU up to now boast of learning hard stuff. Yes we have good guys who can solve mathematics but alas they are not innovative. Its sad 50 years after independence we are importing everything even a brick making machine which in my view is simple engineering. It is even more worse for engineers in the mining industries. It is high time we change our attitude and invest in innovation. We have National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) which should be an institution empowered to spearhead Research and Innovation but it is poorly funded by the government. We need surely to do something if we want to achieve the economic independence. Government should also learn to invest in education.

    Thanks.

  27. The way forward is to teach the next generation product designing as a course and incorporate it into mainstream courses, This will equip and prepare students to implement ideals in their field of study after leaving academic institutes into designing products and problem solving that meets society demands. Thats a cheap reasoning from Pro Chirwa the fact is education system in Zambia is flawed and at present thats what it can give back to society.

  28. Its about policy. You can have the best engineers in the country but if you don’t create an environment for them to do their job, how can they perform?
    1st: the government doesn’t trust our engineers, it always look outside the country for engineering problems. 2nd: science & tech education in schools is dead, where is JETS, where are the labs? 3rd: the curricula for UNZA, CBU etc are as old as their institutions. Thats why you can even pass a test without going to class because you just read what the previous dude left you before he graduated.
    4th: If you come up with a project or an idea, the first thing a person next to will do is to find a strategy to shoot down that project instead of supporting you. Remember what happened to Prof Chirwa?

  29. All comments tilt to pro,chirwa ,so his observation shows that their is a vacuum.its the only speech that made sense.

  30. The professor is bang on point…what is laughable is this minister talking about self introspection when he is insulted every day by a grade 7 president yet he clings on to keep his job.

  31. One reason why I stopped from being a so-called a registered EIZ engineer, EIZ is interested in raising funds for thier conferences and workshop trash. They even have staff just looking at membership. What a shame! They’re far from enhancing engineering in our nation, just interested in membership fees.

    What is EIZ’s vision and mission? Any achievement all these donkey years of existence?

    EIZ stand up, Zambia needs you!

  32. The term engineer is a varied one. We also need to develop and empower our nationals into software engineers to make us an internet hub of Africa. Zambians do speak understandable English and with further exposure to higher levels of education we can have a strong service-centric industry on the continent. Large corporate businesses of the world are outsourcing parts of their business to emerging markets such as India, Malaysia, The Philippines, South Africa and many other. Zambia would have benefited in this area because of our connections with the UK where most of these companies also operate from. Zambia and Uganda nationals are mostly the only people in Africa that speak English without a traceable accent. E.g. when a Zimbabwean speaks, you can trace them, SAs, Nigers, Kenya…

    • …but government has not done enough to encourage an internet driven economy. Government need softening their grip on the internet access. There more advantages in internet access for all than there are disadvantages. Yes, law breakers should be tracked and arrested such as Paedophiles, terrorists and the likes with clear guidelines but not ZWD, Lusaka times and the other online publications whether pro or against government.

  33. Blinds off people. Everything talked about above needs financial support. Engineers’ will not create anything out of thin air. Chirwa knows that too. That’s why he failed despite having had great ideas and dreams for the rail company. No political support.

    • The politicians would never have supported his proposal as they are too shortsighted, too greedy, too selfish and only see as far as the next election….the current crop of leaders are unable to plan for the next 30 years.

  34. Intelligent students are not admitted into zambian universities. Most students are admitted for science subjects with only 12 points. A student would not be accepted at Oxford University with 12 points. These students would do better in subjects such as administration or catering. Currently graduates from UNZA cannot design anything that can compete with germany etc. I know a student who I shall call Ms Mwanda, who only achieved 12 points in her grade 12 examinations. She was admitted to the school of natural sciences at the University of Zambia! Her uncle, cousin or whatever ‘got her’ a place. She did not have the grades to be admited to UNZA. If top universities admit students such as Ms Mwanda, they will produce graduates who are secretaries instead of scientist

    • It is not a question of how many points you get. It is a question of subjects you did at Grade 12. And please in Zambia you need 5 O Levels in the required subjects to be admitted to University. At Oxford and other UK Universities you need 3 A levels in relevant subjects to be admitted to a degree programme. So stop blabbing about points, Oxford, administration and catering! Just resolve your personal issues with Mwanda.

  35. Intelligent students are not admitted into zambian universities. Most students are admitted for science subjects with only 12 points. A student would not be accepted at Oxford University with 12 points. These students would do better in subjects such as administration or catering. Currently graduates from UNZA cannot design anything that can compete with Germany etc. I know a student who I shall call Ms Mwanda, who only achieved 12 points (admit 2 Cavendish) in her grade 12 examinations. She was admitted to the school of natural sciences at the University of Zambia! Her uncle, cousin or whatever ‘got her’ a place. She did not have the grades to be admited to UNZA. If top universities admit students such as Ms Mwanda, they will produce graduates who are secretaries instead of scientists.

  36. Most of the comments here are from ill informed minds.

    Every country needs Engineers to improve the means of economic production. Roads, Manufacturing, Bridges,Communication or depend on engineering.

    Respect the Proffesion.

    • Most roads being constructed in Zambia are simply being refurbished and upgraded…there is nothing innovative even ZNS could do the job if they were well funded, they are not even incorporating modern innovate materials…just look at the proposals they came up with to reduce traffic in the capital.

  37. This is not a fair criticism for Enginneers, most engineering projects require large investment outlay whose return can only be assured by a large population others wise the projects are not commercially viable. Even China and Japan first invited industrial capital into the countries promising them a huge internal market . Once they invested the technology was replicated and then owned. Samsung did that to Apple and also to GE. The professor is guilty of shallow thinking

  38. The number of points obtained in the Zambian Grade 12 exams is not a measure of intelligence. There are other more rigorous tests or indicators of intelligence.

    • I concur there are more rigorous tests for intelligence. If one can only achieve 12 points, for a Zambian grade 12 certificate then one will certainly fail a more rigorous test.

  39. It is true that Zambians have a very poor memory. It was not long ago that this ‘Prof’ was living in a luxurious millions of Kwacha per month apartment (Falls View?) and awarding his own companies tenders without following procedure at the expense of re-structuring Zambia Railways and people are busy praising him.

    No wonder development in Zambia takes a backstage to people blowing their own trumpets

  40. Good observation Prof Chirwa. It is true we lose out on raw materials like copper and buy it back as finished products. If only you could lead the way.

    However, local township engineers are far ahead. Ama spoon yakupopa ne mbabula are always marketable. Visit ‘Kapomposha Dept’ of any renowned market, they continue being creative. If you started equipping those will loans and further skill they would do more tangible things beneficial to the locals.

    Let us hope the Zambian Engineer’s Easter holiday meeting will produce some fruit.

    Nomba, for your next meeting, do not use Good Friday, Holy Saturday and above all Easter Sunday! There are many days in a year!

  41. The root of the problem is poor leadership. It is leadership that sets the direction for improvement through well calculated investment of time and resources that will inspire professionals to excel. How can we aspire for excellence as engineers, doctors, nurses, teachers, as a people if we continue have low standards for leadership. You have to go no further than statehouse to see the nurture of the problem. The most mediocre elements of our society rise to positions of influence and then frustrate those who are capable & willing to improve. That is how the dream has been stifled. These mediocre leaders can only prosper if the population remains mediocre & weak. WE THE PEOPLE HAVE TO DEMAND FOR MORE THEN WE CAN TALK ABOUT EXCELLENCE!

  42. All over the world the number of innovators is a small fraction of the whole. It should be assumed that within the Zambian engineering fraternity, there is that small percentage. Mentorship or a lack of it is the issue.

    How does a country go about identifying those with creative minds? I do want to believe that Prof. Chirwa belongs to this smaller group of innovative engineers. He has only one big problem – ego! Prof. Chirwa is not humble. He is too egotistic. Otherwise, with his good exposure in Europe and elsewhere around the world, he could be the chief mentor of up-coming young innovative engineers.

    I find it insulting for him to refer to his fellow engineers as merely “maintenance engineers.” In this respects, he is still needs to grow-up.

  43. i am an engineer. chirwa is both right and wrong. he is a mechanical engineer and this aspect, i tend to see logic in his observation. but as a civil enginedr, my life is hands on, i spend all my life in construction, working on sites. i also know that electrical engineers do alot.

    i also acknowledge that the professor is a design expert, not manufacturing and production one. put at a construction site, he would learn some things.

    in all however, engineering innovation is achievable mostly by financial support because it involves money. u need a country to have the right strategy to see engineering at work.

    fo… me as a civil engineer, i await a time i will construct structurds in water bodies

  44. EIZ is to blame or is it govt. any engineering solution or design that comes from outside does not go through zambian institutions first. in other countries, if a design comesfrom china for example and this design is to be used in germany. it will go to engineers first. two reasons, one is transfer of knowledge, two is participation. botswana is doing that. why train a driver and not allow him to drive.zambia engineers sit aside while SA,australians, canadians,peruvian etc engineers impose engineering decisions in zambian.our self confidence thru govt is zero.

  45. I conquer with Prof. Clive Chirwa. start with our educations system is desirable and even worse at the current status. What we produce as engineers in Zambia at UNZA and CBU are theoretical engineers, good at reading, very bad at studing and application of their skills. I wonder what kind of trainings they receive and the quality of lecturers because not even a single engineer at UNZA and CBU has ever designed a new thing even just coping from china, even that our engineers have but i have seen a person in Kanyama who is not an engineer made made a car out worn out metal sheets and scrups and the car ran. surely at this eror, importing spoons its a shame to myself an engineer.

    • Are you chinese ?I doubt you are a zambian engineer. Your english vocabulary, punctuation and grammar is appalling! You need to use a dictionary or spell check. Alternatively go back to school.

    • @ Hanson, muleke umu velevele. He’s spot on. EIZ itself is a let down to the engineering fraternity.

      By the way, most of the road works you’re witnessing are designed by Zambian civil engineers though the ‘works’ are contracted to outsiders lie the chocho lees.

    • Ba JEX; You’ve never been to CBU or UNZA … only in Kanyama; maybe that’s why you never got to appreciate what they’ve so done for country.

  46. That is why Anglo changed some titles like Sectional Engineer to Sectional General Foreman.Honestly it pains me to see so called Engineers failing to read drawings.The guys are always glued on computers.

  47. its cheaper to buy a spoon than to make one. manufacturing industries join forces to make a simple thing that u see.rolls royce fantom chasis is made in usa, shipped to german for panting only an assembled in england if am not mistaken.usa imports spoons from chana as well. wat is chirwa tokin abt.that doesnt mean i cant make a spoon. worse still out of copper. thats a failed dream and expensive ambition

  48. We have no engineers in Zambia. also point of correction there is no engineering problem in Zambia what we have is a human problem. greedy. poor heritage. etc illiteracy amongst the elite vilageism these cannot be resolved by some calculations of elevations.

  49. Hushhh…. I had no idea there is this much ignorance of what a Zambian does and can do! The Prof. appears on the scene and says something and all (sorry, almost all) seem to be in agreement with him…. When everyone is through with “Zambian engineer” bashing and have sobered up let me know and I will give you a list of innovations designed and implemented in Zambia by Zambian Civil engineers!

  50. Spot on prof,Zambian education in universities like UNZA/CBU are outdated.At UNZA the same experiments that were done by students in the 1970’S are being used now.Students just replicate the same old research (CROOKs) and proceed to another year.Very few courses if any,encourage innovativeness.Its high time Universties moved with time and do away with those old type of research.I was shocked to see by young boy doing the same research i did in P111,BS111 with same measurements/figures.

  51. From their presentations they don’t even seem to understand what innovation is. And how do you expect them to be innovative. EIZ is simply crap.

  52. Being an Engineer I feel Motivated that more is expected of me in my Role as a Maintenance and Improvement Engineer. Improvement rests on Innovation. improve somebodys design is part of design. for the information of many educated illiterates is that Engineering is so vast and can not be restricted to Design. even Maintenance is part of Engineering and we encourage Innovation in that area too. designers are made, groomed by an organised system in a Nation. we do not have that here. even if we designed new products who is going to have these products manufactured. it boils down to Political will, what kind of environment has been promoted, killing local industries and local innovation by importing cheap products from china and south africa. these nations invested heavily in the manufacturin

  53. the MMD Killed the Zambian Innovation, by liquidating all parastals who were mostly involved in manufacturing, like Dunlop, LENCO, Lingstone Motor Assembly etc. we should have made these companies viable and encourage more innovation than killing them by oppenning our borders like a prostitues legs to cheap goods from outside and hicking the cost of imported raw material by slapping high tax on them. we need to start by making our school and university curricullum to be design biased. Chirwa is right and wrong in his call and by the way every nation has Maintenance Engineers. my call is on the Politician to go this direction and move this nation to a manufacturing one.

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