Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) has withdrawn from Kamuzu Institute of Sports (KIS) lease deal following opposition from athletes and the community surrounding the facility.
The withdrawal, confirmed by Luanar, ends Ministry of Sports and Culture’s hopes of raising funds from the deal for the facility’s maintenance.
The ministry agreed to rent out part of KIS to Luanar for hosting of its off-campus programmes, but ugly scenes followed last month when angry athletes chased away students from the infrastructure.
The athletes said they felt the deal robbed them of their only public multi-discipline sporting ground in Lilongwe.
Announcing the deal collapse Luanar vice-chancellor George Kanyama Phiri said the misunderstanding had led to the withdrawal.
“We feel that some people did not understand our motives so we felt it necessary not to continue,” he said.
In an interview yesterday, Ministry of Sports and Culture spokesperson Christopher Mbukwa said though Luanar has not officially communicated, its withdrawal was understandable.
“I think what happened with the athletes compromised with the security of the students. We thoroughly understand the university’s stand,” he said.
Mbukwa said the supposedly one-year deal was not signed as the two parties were still ironing finer details of the agreement.
“We did not sign any contract with Luanar. But it was supposed to be a one-year deal that was open to renewal,” he said, adding: “We hope that another client will come forward to rent the facility.”
Mbukwa further dismissed fears that the next tenant will face similar opposition saying they are currently sensitising the community to appreciate their stand.
“People must appreciate that there are many idle rooms at the institute. We are pleased that other people around now understand our position,” he said. “The leasing out is crucial because the raised funds will be used to maintain the infrastructure.” n