Chanco demo flops, students bay for union leader’s blood

Instability returned to Chancellor College (CHANCO) in the eastern city of  Zomba on Thursday after students failed to deliver a petition to the District Commissioner (DC) following a confusion that erupted between the College Students’ Union (CCSU) and the students.

The students had planned to march to the DC’s office to present a petition against government’s delay to implement the adjustment of their book and stationery allowances currently pegged at K30 000 annually.

Chanco students started gathering at the college’s arch as early as 8:00am but could not proceed to the DCs offices after it was revealed that CCSU leaders had not prepared the petition to be presented.

Both CCSU president and his deputy, Israel Mashego Masiano and  Chimwemwe Chidambe aka Rasta could not pick up their mobile phones for a  comment.

Chanco students protest

Armed and civilian police rushed to the campus but the angry students engaged them in running battles resulting in some students getting minor injuries as they run away from the fracas.

The law enforcers had to quickly intensify their manpower as the disgruntled students overpowered them.

Later the students union called for an emergency assembly for the way forward but things turned nasty after the union leaders failed to convince them why they failed to march and present the petition to then district commissioner’s office.

“We have gathered in the Great Hall right now for an emergency general assembly but it’s all chaos because the union leaders are failing to explain what has really happened. We suspect something fishy has happened but we will not relent because we are the ones feeling the pinch,” a student told Nyasa Times on condition of anonymity.

The students have since threatened to deal with their union leaders if they fail to give a substantial reason why the protest has failed to take place.

The students had been arguing that the K30 000 book and stationery allowance is too little considering the prevailing costs of items and their leader said they have resorted to demonstration following failed government promises that they would adjust the allowances upwards.

Already President Joyce Banda has on her desk, another petition related to the same which was presented to her by Polytechnic students, another constituent of the University of Malawi, in May this year in which they demanded an increase in their living allowance from K40,000 to K60,000 each.

The disgruntled students’ demand came following government decision to hike tuition fees both for students who pay their way through college and those who are called mature-entry or adults. Fees for mature- entry and self-sponsored students were raised from K100, 000 to K250 000.

Since President Banda told over government, there had been a series of protests from students from almost all UNIMA constituent colleges including Mzuzu University demanding an increment on their monthly meal and upkeep allowances.

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