Address by Honourable Augustino Ramandi
Chief Justice of Tanzania
The Chairman Saidullah Khan Dehlavi;
Members of the Board of Trustees of the Aga Khan University;
President Firoz Rasul;
Provost Dr William Doe;
Members of Staff and students;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Let me first of all express my sincere
gratitude at the great honour you have bestowed on me to be the chief
guest at this fifth graduation ceremony. I could have easily understood
it, and indeed I would have taken it for granted, if it were a
graduation ceremony for legal qualifications. But it is a totally
different case when the occasion is for health and educational fields.
That the Chief Justice has been invited to grace this occasion is, as
the lawyers would say, proof beyond reasonable doubt as to the esteem
the Aga Khan University leadership has for the Judiciary. Thank you very
Mr Chairman, I am well aware of the noble and
benevolent role the Aga Khan Development Network is rendering, not only
in this country, not only in Africa, but in over 30 of the poorest
countries in the world. This is possible because of the devotion of
private non-denominational development agencies and institutions founded
and guided by His Highness the Aga Khan.
In 1983, Aga Khan University was established
by a charter as an international university within that Network. Thus
the University, which has caused this graduation ceremony, and hence the
reason for my being here at this time, owes its existence to that
Allow me, Mr Chairman, to take this most rare
opportunity in my life to say how much I am moved by these deeds of
humanity. I pray to God Almighty to bless and make these efforts
The vision of the University is "an
autonomous, international institution of distinction, primarily serving
the developing world and Muslim societies in innovative and enduring
ways". The University has never lost sight of its founding principles of
accessibility to all, relevance to local needs, visible impact and high
I understand that in pursuit of those
principles, in addition to the training of doctors, there is the
Advanced Nursing Studies Programme which was started in response to
requests by the East African governments. The programme will promote the
services of the nursing cadre to a much higher level. Apart from that
there is also the Institute for Educational Development, East Africa,
which was established in December, 2006, aimed at enhancing the calibre
of teaching. Tanzania needs good teachers: the sort of teachers who
taught the current leadership.
For all these endeavours I salute the Aga Khan University and I offer many hearty congratulations and praises.
According to the University's founder and
Chancellor, His Highness the Aga Khan, the University aims at being "on
the frontiers of scientific and humanistic knowledge, radiating
intelligence and confidence, research and graduates, into flourishing
economies and progressive legal and political systems". We are just
about to witness the manifestation of these magnificent goals.
I take this opportunity to congratulate all
the professors, lecturers and all who in one way or another have enabled
these persons before us to graduate this evening. To you graduands I
give you very hearty congratulations. I know you have persevered many
sleepless nights. There are times when you have gone without food. You
have denied yourselves many amenities of life. You deliberately did all
these so that you would satisfy your examiners and be here this
afternoon. Congratulations. You have made it.
This occasion takes me back 40 years when I
graduated from the then University of East Africa at the University
College of Dar es Salaam, so I know your feelings as well as those of
your loved ones and all those who wish you well. Again, congratulations,
and I wish you all the best in life.
Some of you are now doctors of medicine.
Others are graduate teachers in various subjects. Yet others are
extremely well qualified nurses. The question is: What next? Is your
goal now to find some place where you will be highly paid? Are you
looking for green pastures? Someone said that the grass is always green
over cesspits. So beware. Some green pastures are over cesspits. You
have to be cautious. You have taken not less than 16 years to graduate.
Some of you have taken even more years depending on the degrees you have
read. There were no shortcuts. You have persevered and now here you are
being rewarded legally, ceremoniously and publicly.
An honourable and successful career demands
even more discipline than that of a student. During your student life
there was no way you could have gone through two classes in a year. You
had to stay in one class for a whole year before you moved on to the
next. But in real life there are people who will try to persuade you to
accept that there are shortcuts to success. Do not be gullible.
I always regard medicine - whether as a
doctor or as a nurse - and teaching not as professions but as callings
or vocations. These three words have been defined differently in the
Chambers Student Dictionary: A profession is described as "an employment
not mechanical and requiring some degree of learning". I dare say that
even a hangman requires "some degree of learning". But that work is far
from being a calling or a vocation.
A calling, on the other hand, is defined as
"a vocation; a call to appoint or proclaim; to designate or reckon; to
select for special office". Vocation is even more to the point: "A
vocation is a calling by God to his service in special work or in a
special position; fitness for God's or other specified work; a way of
living or sphere of activity to which one has been called by God or for
which one has special fitness". The adjective of profession clearly
underscore the diametrical difference. "Professional" is expressed,
among other things, to be "competing for money prizes or against those
who sometimes do so; undertaken as a means of subsistence". The baseline
is, putting it simply, greed. In a vocation or a calling the reward is
not the motive. Service is the motive and the satisfaction.
I dare say that law - or being a lawyer - is a
profession. There are two opposite sides to a dispute and there is a
lawyer representing either side. Advocates of both sides will leave no
stone unturned to persuade a magistrate or a judge to decide in his/her
client's favour. However, being a Magistrate or a Judge is a vocation.
You have to deliver justice. At the end of the day you feel so much
refreshed, composed, at peace and satisfied. Mind you, this is coming
from a person who has been a judge for the last 32 years, 20 years of
which he has been in the final court of the land in whose decisions are
Never forget that you are graduates of the
Aga Khan University, which continues the intellectual tradition of His
Highness' forefathers, the Fatimids, who established the Al-Azhar
University in Cairo over 1,000 years ago. You have a duty to reflect
that tradition. Anyone who deals with you should be able to see the
difference in your manners, treatment, care humility and politeness and
should immediately remark "Yes! This is a graduate of the Aga Khan
Thank you for listening. I wish you all the best. God bless you.