Dear Judge Mbadwa,
I, Professor Yohani Thumba, the Chancellor of University of Nyasaland, want you, my honourable judge Mbadwa to act on some deviant college principals who no longer want to be under my command. Forgive the lofty language I am using in this letter, but you know we in the academe do not like to write as we speak.
You might have heard the story already; the wind of public sector reforms that was precipitated by the Cloud Kulima’s commission has unsettled most of these college principals.
A call to submit reforms various colleges would want to implement was misconstrued as an opportunity to once again take umbrage at the idea that the university’s Central Office remains the main act of the whole University of Nyasaland drama. The principals and their colleges now arrogantly think they can exist without me and that I am an impediment to their growth; what puerile thought!
They even had the audacity of speaking against my Central Office at the public sector hearings, yet the University of Nyasaland Act in its present form does not advocate unbundling of any sort.
My Lord, I am aware that behind these college principals’ strange behaviour are high-Octane faculties and academic department heads and staff who see an opportunity of themselves becoming Chancellors, Vice-Chancellors and Pro-vice-Chancellors in their own right once their colleges divorce themselves from my rule.
I have heard murmurings that in the grand scheme of modern university management, we at the central office have become irrelevant. I understand others are even proposing that one faculty of their college occupies our office and that they will offer some of us teaching positions! This is not on!
My Lord, aren’t we soon going to hear calls for the amendment of the University of Nyasaland Act?
You know My Lord that the central office is still relevant to coordinate operations of these colleges. My Lord allowing the unbundling of the university to go ahead would lead to total chaos. Strikes would become the order of the day! These college need to be tamed by my office to avoid the opposition’s wish to bring civil disobedience into the country being fulfilled.
Colleges can only concentrate on teaching and research while we at policy level can look at the way of stopping strikes of academic staff and the incessant closures of colleges. We know it is the opposition that is fueling the unbundling of the university to bring civil disobedience into Nyasaland, something Mapuya cannot tolerate.
Don’t you see now that people are already laughing at Mapuya because he allowed the opposition to unbundle Escom so that power outages should become the order of the day? When they finally, unbundle, are these principals ndi azilongo awo prepared to be haunted by the spirit of the first president who started this university?
Well, I did not intend to become an enthusiastic apologist of the status quo and that is not the aim of this letter, but a liberal thinker like me is sometimes allowed the freedom to convince others of alternative facts.
If it is funding they are worried about, then you know I don’t control the purse but that guy at Capitol Hill, Gado Gandall and crew.
My Lord, I hope I have made a beautiful case for restraining the principals from dividing our house. If it is power they are looking for well, why don’t they let me implement a new strategic plan where they would even become first deputy Vice-Chancellors?
Looking forward to your determination,
Yours Yohani Chithumba.