Mzuzu University (Mzuni) students have asked President Peter Mutharika to intervene in the University of Malawi (Unima) fees hike wrangle, arguing that his silence will worsen the already volatile situation.
There is tension in the constituent colleges of Unima as students are protesting fees hike by the Unima Council. The fees ranging from K400 000 to K600 000 were increased from K55 000/K275 000 per academic year.
Students at three of Unima’s four constituent colleges—the Polytechnic, Chancellor College and Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN)—have in the past week protested the increase in their financial contribution. Only College of Medicine (CoM) has not publicly prostested.
In a statement issued yesterday, Mzuni Students Representative Council (Musrec) president Wazamazama Katatu argued that Mutharika, as chancellor of the public universities, is the only authority who can resolve the matter.
Reads the statement in part: “APM should make timely intervention into the matter in his capacity as both an academic achiever who is also an inspirational figure to all youths who are following his education footsteps in this country and as chancellor because he is the only key player who has a critical role and he is holding viable solutions to end the Unima crisis.
“No figure is more relevant than the chancellor where the issue has now reached, hence his physical presence on the scene cannot be overemphasised.”
The statement also condemns the hike, saying it is punitive and should not be tolerated in the current fragile economy.
Reacting to Mzuni students calls, presidential press secretary Mgeme Kalirani said in an interview yesterday the President is still engaging Unima Council on the matter.
He said the council initially proposed fees higher than what is being disputed by the students and claimed it was the President who asked the council to lower the amount.