PROFESSOR WALTER KAMBA irst Vice Chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe 100 GREATEST ZIMBABWEANS

Walter Kamba was the first Vice Chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe. Appointed in 1981, his devotion to the principle of academic freedom led to public disagreement with Robert Mugabe, and eventually to early retirement in 1991.However, he was nevertheless appointed Vice Chairman of the Constitutional Commission set up with Mugabe's agreement in 1999 to advise on a route for the President's retirement - proposals which were never acted upon.

During the years of Southern Rhodesia's illegal declaration of independence, when senior academic positions were not open to black Zimbabweans, Kamba pursued his academic career abroad.

He obtained BA and LLB degrees from University of Cape Town and after serving his
articles in Harare, practiced as an attorney in the country before moving to Yale University in the US where he completed an LLM and later became dean of law at the
University of Dundee.

In 1979 he attended the constitutional conference on the future of Rhodesia at Lancaster House as legal adviser to the delegations of Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo, playing a substantial part in the development of the constitution of the newly independent state of Zimbabwe.

Returning to Harare in 1980, he took charge of the University, which he transformed from a small colonial university college . Kamba's great achievement was to expand substantially the overall size of the University, of its black Zimbabwean intake and of its range of academic studies, without compromising the quality of education.

At the ceremony for 1982 graduates, Kamba was brave enough to speak out publicly, and in the presence of Mugabe, about the undesirability of government interference in the academic affairs of the University.

Kamba was involved in numerous other organisations, as Chairman of the Association of Eastern and Southern African Universities, President of the International Association of Universities, Founding Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Namibia, amongst others, and at the time of his death, was the Herbert Chitepo UNESCO Professor of Human Rights, Democracy, Peace and Governance at the University of Zimbabwe