Students at the Polytechnic in Blantyre and Mzuzu University (Mzuni) on Monday went on the rampage, protesting about allowances.
At Mzuni, the students protested the delay in receiving their stationery allowances whereas at the Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi (Unima), the students took to the streets, demanding an increase in their food allowance.
The Polytechnic Students Union (PSU) on Monday condemned the action by the students.
Mzuzu Police Station spokesperson Maurice Chapola confirmed the riots at Mzuni and said five students were arrested in the process.
The system of giving food allowances to university students began in 2012. Currently, the allowance in all Unima constituent colleges is at K40 000 (about $100), revised upwards from K33 000 ($82.5).
Speaking during the Poly strike, PSU vice-president Eugene Chinkhandwe said the union had already communicated the issue to the University Council.
He said: “As PSU, we were just waiting for a reply from the council by April 23. The University Council is aware of the problem and negotiations are expected to start on April 23.”
He said the union had proposed a 70 percent increment because the money does not tally with food prices at the cafeteria.
Polytechnic registrar Margaret Longwe said she was not aware of the reasons the students had taken to the streets.
And in Mzuzu, police said the arrested students have been charged with conduct likely to cause breach of peace and will appear before court soon.
Mzuni students, who have been on campus for five weeks without getting their allowances, blocked the Mzuzu-Karonga M1 Road in the morning, until armed police dispersed them.
According to Mzuni Students Representative Council (Musrec) president Abel Phompho, the students lost patience after using their pocket money to buy stationery and also access other school related services.
Mzuni registrar Vyson Jedegwa said it was unfortunate that the students went to block the road when authorities assured them of their allowances.