Police and journalists yesterday outnumbered demonstrators in Blantyre in the civil society organisations’ (CSOs) nationwide anti-fees hike demonstrations.
In Blantyre, only four people, who identified themselves as Chancellor College students, marched against close to 60 police officers and over 10 reporters. The march started from Kamuzu Stadium upper ground through Masauko Chipembere Highway to Blantyre Civic Offices, where they presented a petition.
The demonstrations which started two hours later than the scheduled 9am, almost failed to take place as none of the organising CSO members turned up.
Negracious Justin, acting executive director of Youth with Vision, an organisation that was to lead the demonstrations, pulled out at the last minute, blaming the city council of failing to give them a go-ahead on time.
The team was then led by Comrade Mayuni, who said he got the petition from Charles Kajoloweka, national coordinator of the demonstrations. Among others, the petition calls for the reduction of the fees and immediate opening of the Chancellor College,
“It is not that we do not want the tuition fees to be raised, but we want the authorities to consider the country’s current financial challenges and come up with an affordable adjustment,” said Mayuni.
In Zomba, the demonstrations were coordinated by Chancellor College Association of Young Patriots (CAYP).
The group marched from Zomba Community Centre Ground through St. Charles Lwanga-Chanco Road to Zomba District Commissioner’s (DC) office, where they delivered their copy of the petition.
CAYP president Chifuno Mlambe said they coordinated the demonstrations in Zomba in solidarity with CSOs in other cities.
Receiving the petition, on behalf of the District Commissioner (DC), Director of Planning and Development at Blantyre District Council Francis Matewere thanked the students for a peaceful demonstration.
Similarly, Zomba DC Benet Nkasala commended the marchers for a peaceful demonstration.
They both promised to deliver the petition to the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC). n