President Peter Mutharika has dissolved the University of Malawi Council with immediate effect accusing it and its management of failing to resolve the labour dispute between the Council and University of Malawi academic staff that has led to the closure of the Chancellor College (Chanco) for close to four months.
In a press statement released on Sunday, presidential press secretary and spokesperson Mgeme Kalilani, said President Mutharika has hence directed government to mediate on the matter adding that a reconstituted Council is expected to be announced soon.
The statement further says a taskforce comprising representatives of the Council and academic Staff will also be constituted.
This was after the Mutharika met with the University Council, Management and representatives of Academic Staff to agree on the steps that will ensure that Chancellor College opens with every expedition possible.
The discussions of the taskforce will be facilitated by the Minister of Education, Science and Technology; and Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs “in order to ensure continuity of the first meeting held on 16 June 2017,” reads the statement in part.
According to the statement, Mutharika “desires that the involved parties will reach a common understanding and re-open Chancellor College”.
Chanco was closed on March 21 2017 following a strike by lecturers to force the council to resolve salary disparities among staff in similar grades in its four constituent colleges of Chanco, The Malawi Polytechnic, Kamuzu College of Nursing and the College of Medicine (CoM).
Last week, Polytechnic lecturers announced they will join the strike from July 1, 2017.
The stand-off over salary harmonisation took a twist recently when Ccasu rejected Unima Council’s proposal to refer the matter to the Industrial Relations Court (IRC) on the basis that both parties had not yet commenced dialogue on recommendations made by arbitrator Modecai Msisha.
According to the University of Malawi Act (1998), the direct management of the University of Malawi rests with the University Council supported by the Vice Chancellor and his management.