Three organisations have instituted investigations into sexual abuse claims made by students at Mulanje Mission College of Nursing.
The investigation by Christian Health Association of Malawi (Cham), National Association of Nurses and Midwives of Malawi (Nonm) and Students National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives, a mother body representing all nursing students in the country, follow a petition alleged to have been written by students at the institution.
The petition, which is circulating on various social media platforms but has no official signatory, is alleging that students at the institution are being coerced into sleeping with tutors to obtain good grades and other favours.
According to the petition, the students are claiming to have paid as high as K300 000 to get enrolled at the institution.
Reads the petition in part: “Akumatigona potiopseza kuti tiliphera [the tutors are threatening to fail us if we deny them sex]. We are afraid. Some of our friends have been going to night clubs with some of the tutors and are being forced to drink beer. We are suffering in silence.”
Following the leakage of the petition, Cham has issued a statement stressing they will get to the bottom of both the petition and the allegations being made.
“Although we do not know all the details, the internal audit and training management of Cham secretariat in conjunction with our stakeholders will conduct a full investigation into the matter to determine the authenticity of the letter as well as to objectively establish the actual truth behind the claims being made,” reads the statement.
In separate interviews last week, presidents of National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives of Malawi and Nonm, Steven Smart and Dorothy Ngoma respectively, said they would investigate the matter.
Said Smart: “Our body has been given the task to investigate the whole issue and give a report to our secretariat in Lilongwe, but so far, our investigations are not ready.”
On her part, Ngoma said: “Whether it is true or not, we would definitely have to investigate because these are allegations the students or student who authored that petition are making. But as they always say, there is no smoke without fire so we need to find out whether this smoke has fire and, therefore, if it is correct, who is perpetuating this.”