Following Monday and Tuesday by Chancellor College (Chanco) students in Zomba, Police in Zomba have arrested 16 students including the Student Union of Chancellor College (Succ) president Sylvester Ayuba James.
The students are being kept at Zomba Police Station.
Tuesday’s protests by students led to the blocking of the M5 road and the US’s second lady Dr. Jill Biden’s motorcade which was on its way to Machinga to visit projects her government is supporting in Malawi. She was in the company of the US ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer and Minister of Education, Science and Technology Emmanuel Fabiano.
Confirming the arrest Eastern Region police Spokesperson Joseph Sauka said James will answer charges of inciting violence while the other students will answer charges of conduct likely to cause a breach of peace.
Sauka said eleven other students who were arrested on Monday have been granted bail pending further investigations.
He described the demonstrations by the students as unauthorized.
“Despite failure by the students to get permission from the District Commissioner (DC), they went ahead with the demonstrations. We as police we tried to reason with them to leave the streets but they insisted. Fighting with us and in the end injuring some police officers and destroying other people’s property,” Sauka said.
In a letter dated July 8 addressed to the University of Malawi Student Union (Umsu), District Commissioner for Zomba Bennet Nkasala said he could not grant the students permission to hold a vigil at the university office in the district as he felt that there was no tangible evidence that all channels of dialogue with all relevant offices had failed to yield desired results for the students to consider the vigil as a last resort.
The students are protesting an increase in their financial contribution from K275 000 to a minimum of K400 000 per year.
According to Sauka, authorities are still assessing the damage caused during the two day protests.
He described the situation at the college today as calm.