With no activity taking place at Chancellor College (Chanco) campus, the college resembles a ghost village with cemetery silence, but the ripple effects of the closure have not spared businesses in the university town.
Some businesspersons in Zomba have said the continued closure of the college, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, is negatively affecting them. Frank Ndawala proprietor of Senke Fast Foods, an eatery near Chancellor College said food business has been hit hard by the college closure.
He recalls serving at least 80 students with lunch and supper at K500 per meal, making a net sale of about K80 000 per day.
Today, he is serving lunch to only about 15 to 20 customers, most of whom are the college’s supporting staff and passersby.
“I had seven employees who worked for me in the business, but I fired them as I cannot afford to pay them. I had a house construction project that has also stalled due to shortage of funds,” he said.
Emmanuel Banda, a bicycle taxi operator, who operates from Zomba City Centre to Chanco, agreed with Ndawala, saying the college’s closure has paralysed their businesses.
He said previously, with students on campus, he made at least K8 000 per day but at the moment he is making a meagre K1 500.
Zomba’s Chikanda Townshipbased vegetable vendors, Inness Masi and Agness Nkhoma, also said their businesses have suffered due to the closure of the college.
Ernest Liwasa, who owns three houses that accommodate students in Chikanda, also bemoaned the continued closure of the college.
“My children have been chased from school due to lack of school fees; something that could not have happened were the Chanco students still on campus,” he said.