Eight students who are members of the Student Union of the Chancellor College (SUCC), a constituent college of the University of Malawi (Unima), have been summoned for disciplinary hearing by the college’s authorities.
The eight including their president, Sylvester Ayuba James will appear before the students’ disciplinary committee on August 22 at the college’s campus.
In the summon dated August 16 2016 and signed by Linda Saka on behalf of the college Registrar, the authorities have laid down two disciplinary issues; interference with governance or proper administration of the University and unlawful protest and demonstration.
It says the eight students are expected to answer to alleged misconduct and behaviour which brought the University into “disrepute, discredit the good name and prejudiced the peace, good order and good governance of the college.”
“It is alleged that you mobilised students to a general assembly in the Great Hall which consequently led to demonstrations during which students disrupted teaching and blocked the Chirunga Road leading to the campus. This is contrary to students Rules and Regulations revised 2011 section 21.3” the summon reads in part.
It further says that on Tuesday July 19 2016, students continued blocking and intentionally obstructed freedom of movement, jeopardised safety of individuals at the college and other lawful activities along the Chirunga Road contrary to Students Rules and Regulations revised 2011 section 22.
“Regrettably, during these unlawful protests and demonstrations there were running battles between students and police and in the process, college and personal properties were damaged.”
The college authorities have warned the students to unveil themselves at the hearing as failure to do so shall lead the committee into proceeding to hear the case in their absence and make all recommendations to the college Principal on the case.
The authorities have also advised the students to freely bring witnesses to the hearing.
But Succ president Sylvester Ayuba James in an interview, laughed off the charges levelled against him and his seven fellow students saying it is just a way of trying to silence them.
“Personally I feel this is interesting, it clearly shows how uncivilised as a nation we are. I wonder how in this era some still believe in suppression and oppression but we will not be moved by this.
We maintain that the hiked fees must be reduced further as the K50 000 decrease is unreasonable. We know the situation on the ground, we have seen students starving and dropping out for lack of fees. We will not be intimidated,” he said.
Misunderstandings over the tuition fees started three months ago when the University of Malawi (Unima) Council raised tuition fees in its four constituent colleges from K55 000 and K275 000 at the Malawi Polytechnic, K380 000 at the Chancellor College, K340 000 Kamuzu College of Nursing and K500 000 for the College of Medicine and K900 000, 950 000 to K1.4 million for its mature students.
After a three hour discussion with President Peter Mutharika at Kamuzu palace in Lilongwe on August 4, the hiked fees was reduced by K50 000 across the board a thing which some students have described as a joke.