By Durell Namasani
He is known as the field Marshall of the ruling DPP party , but Ben Phiri who also happens to be a Minister of local government had a day never to forget in court.
At the ongoing Constitutional court , hearing the vote rigging case, lawyers from the the opposition side had a field day over the so called field Marshall. As it never rains but pours , the cabinet minster found himself trending on social media with very funny memes , making fun of his court appearance
What grabbed peoples attention is not the testimony that Ben Phiri was giving , but it was when lawyer Chikoya Silungwe asked Phiri to clarify about his academic qualifications. Ben Phiri holds a Phd , but for so long people have doubted his qualification with rumours rife that he bought the qualification. It was well known to all Malawians that the Phd was awarded by one of the dodgy universities called Cypress International University. This is why it came as a surprise to Malawians when the cabinet minister told the court that his PhD was not from Cypress but Jerusalem Bible College.
What was even more shocking was the fact that the minister said his thesis wasn’t about servant leadership as he previously used to tell people but it was a bible related thesis.
Lawywer Silungwe asked Phiri to state where he obtained his doctorate degree and in what field . Phiri said it was a biblical degree from Jerusalem Bible College. Silungwe went further to ask Phiri if he has a masters degree of which the minister said yes , an international relations degree from Costa Ford University. He also said he has a bachelors degree in international relations from Atlantic University.
It did not take long before Facebook was awash with people making fun of the minister .Long time critic of Phiri , Allan Ntata had his song going viral with him commenting how surprising it is that a Leadership philosophy degree has all over a sudden changed to a biblical philosophy. MCP secretary general Essenhower Mkaka also had a dig at the cabinet minister over the surprise change of both his thesis and university.
Others have questioned the credibility of Ben Phiri as a witness. There are strong calls for the minister to be prosecuted to perjury as his inconsistencies suggest he has been lying under oath . One commentator Yasin Maoni made a a call that Ben Phiri need to be fired as a cabinet minister for peddling lies in court about his qualifications