Some Civil Society Organisations (CSO) have organised national wide demonstrations against University of Malawi (Unima) fees hike. The demos have been planned for Thursday.
The CSOs insist they will proceed with the demos as planned despite President Peter Mutharika granting an audience to University of Malawi Unima Students Union (Umsu) the same day.
The CSOs include Youth and Society (YAS), Youth with Vision (YWV), Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance (CHREAA), Centre for Development of the People (CEDEP), Centre for Youth Development (CYD), Youth Watch Society and renown human rights activist Billy Mayaya.
Speaking in an interview, one of the organisers Negracious Justin, acting executive director for Youth with Vision said they demand for a non-implementation of the current hiked fees by the Unima Council and immediate re-opening of Chancellor College.
“Government cannot continue to use closure of institutions of higher learning as a tool of intimidation and abdication of its responsibility.
The decisions by government and university council to raise fees to unreasonable and burdening levels and to shut the students and public voice up by closing the College are completely unwelcome and enshrouded in the archaic tendency that limits democracy and civil freedoms,” said Justin.
Commenting on the meeting between President Mutharika and the Umsu executive members, Justin described it as a positive development and “we wish the organisers of the same could embrace us in such talks.”
“We pray that the meeting bears the desired fruits other than being a platform where they will emphasize their stand on the fees hike,” he added.
According to Justin, the demonstrations will start at 9am from Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCN) round-about and they will proceed to Capital Hill where they will deliver a petition to Minister of Education.
In Blantyre, the demonstrations will start at Kamuzu Upper Stadium via Masauko Chipembere Highway to Blantyre Civic Offices where they will deliver a petition. While in Mzuzu, the demonstrations will start from Katoto Secondary School to Mzuzu City Civic Offices where they will deliver a petition and in Zomba they will start from the community ground via Mponda Primary school to Zomba District Assembly where they will deliver a petition.
In an earlier interview, Umsu president Tionge Sikwese refused to comment on the demonstrations saying the students are not part of the organising team.
President Mutharika who is also the Chancellor of public universities is scheduled to meet the union leaders at 10am after they requested to have an audience with him over the fee hike saga.