The High Court in Zomba has rejected an application by the University of Malawi (Unima) Council to vacate an injunction granted to Students Union of Chancellor of College (Succ) last Thursday.
The students obtained the injunction restraining management of Chancellor College (Chanco), a constituent college of Unima, from implementing a decision to administer readmission forms as well as a readmission fee of K1 500 to its students.
In the wake of the court order, Unima Council applied to the court to vacate the injunction, arguing that the move is intended to frustrate administrative processes at the college and to delay its re-opening scheduled for today (Monday, September 12).
However, according to a ruling made on September 10 2016 by Zomba-based High Court Judge Redson Kapindu, the court found that the Unima Council did not demonstrate how or why the students’ action would in any way prevent the council from proceeding with the reopening of Chanco as scheduled.
Said the judge: “My sense is that considering that the respondent [Unima Council] has already employed human and material resources in preparation for the reopening, it would be prudent to proceed with the reopening as already scheduled, subject to the orders that this court has made. All in all, the respondent’s argument in this regard lacks merit and it is dismissed.”
He also dismissed the Unima Council’s argument that the students’ application is not likely to succeed as there is no arguable case because being asked to fill a form to be re-submitted to the college is merely an administrative process that was taken to ensure the smooth running of the college; and that it is not an issue for a court to judge.
In the ruling, Kapindu also said costs are always at the discretion of the court and he considered that the matter is essentially “a friendly dispute within the university family”.
In a telephone interview with Unima assistant registrar (communication and marketing) Peter Mitunda yesterday said he was yet to see the ruling and will comment after seeing it.
Efforts to talk to Succ leadership proved futile as president Sylvester Ayuba James’s phones could not be reached while the union’s secretary general Edward Chilenje asked for more time as he said James is the one with full details on the court’s ruling which is in their favour.
Chanco was closed on July 19 2016 following student protests over a decision to raise their financial contribution from K55 000/K275 000 to a minimum of K400 000 per year.