Students Union of Chancellor College president Israel Masiyano and six others have been arrested for holding what policed say “an unauthorised vigil” at the offices of the district commissioner in Zomba.
Police have charged them with conduct likely to cause breach of peace. But they are yet to appear in court.
Other students arrested with Masiyano have been identified as Wanangwa Kalua, Joseph Njala, Walter Chinangwa, Howard Manda, Otiela Mtema and a female student Kettie Bamunya.
“They were holding an unlawful vigil. Their conduct was unlawful because the DC did not give them permission to do so,” said Eastern Region Police Headquarters spokesperson Thomeck Nyaude.
Police fired tear gas at the DC’s offices before the arrests were made.
The arrests came at a time when students from the University of Malawi were meeting at the Polytechnic, one of the constituent colleges, to map the way forward on the Council of the University of Malawi stand that it will not raise monthly stipend as demanded by the student.
The development irked students at Chancellor College and The Polytechnic, who on Monday started boycotting classes, to force the authorities to increase their monthly upkeep allowances and also reduce tuition fees.
The students are demanding that their upkeep currently at K40 000 (about $100) each, be increased citing the rising cost of living which has seen their meals prices also adjusted upwards. They also want the University Council to reduce their tuition fees which is at K250 000 (about $625).
The Council of the University of Malawi has cited lack of financial resources meet the students’ demands.