President of the Chewa Heritage Foundation (Chefa) Dr. Justin Malewezi has expressed concern with reports of the Mzuzu University (Mzuni) Council practicing nepotism in the hiring of staff, saying the ‘unfortunate’ habit leads to conflicts among citizens.
“Malawi is one nation with several tribes hence nepotism has no place,” Malewezi, who is also Malawi’s former state vice President said in an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times.
Of late Malawi NGOs have called upon President Joyce Banda, who is Mzuni Chancellor by virtue of being Head of State to fire the Council saying it had lost direction.
The Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) also asked President Banda to immediately reconstitute the Council, arguing that the path of policy direction that it is taking is by all measure vindicative of its failure to practice good governance.
Youth and Society, a local NGO, asked government to consider that Council members serve for a fixed number of years and not any open term as is the case now, arguing that long serving members tend to be detrimental to the institution.
The Youths singled out Mzuni Council Chairperson Prof Brown Chimphamba, Director of Education Dr. Dixie Maluwa and Mzuzu Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Boss Harrison Kalua as some of the Council members dragging Mzuni down.
Nepotism on VC appointment
Malewezi reacted to investigations by NyasaTimes, which revealed that the embattled Mzuni hire people on tribal lines, in most cases favoring those that come from the north or are related to people from the north whether by marriage or otherwise.
The former vice president asked to comment about nepotism that followed the hiring of a new Vice Chancellor after the death of Prof Landson Mhango, said: “I know the issue is now in court so I cannot comment much. But it is our hope that the court will review the matter and come to the correct decision.”
But Msilimba is also unrelenting; he is again seeking relief from the Court in the form of a judicial review to force Mzuni to pick the statutory process of the selection of VC from where it was left to its finality.
In a notice of application for judicial review filed at the Mzuzu High Court, Msilimba argues that the decision of Mzuzu in delegating the powers to decide on re-advertisement of the post of VC to the President is a clear abdication of duty of Mzuni under the Mzuzu University Act.
Msilimba wants to the Court to declare that Mzuni decisions be declared unlawful, unconstitutional, unreasonable and procedurally improper.
Chefa Publicity Secretary Mark Zilirakhasu said the grouping was following Msilimba’s court intervention with keen interest.
“We have confidence in judiciary,” Zilirakhasu said.
Chimphamba is said to have lied to President Banda that the statutory process the Council conducted to identify the Vice Chancellor was faulty because no candidate was successful.
But NyasaTimes investigations indicates that Chimphamba was under pressure from Council members Harrison Kaluwa and Dr. Dixie Maluwa to drop Msilimba because “since establishment Mzuni has never been headed by a Chewa”
But interview results conducted on 28th March, 2012, indicates that a clear winner emerged in the name of Associate Professor Golden Msilimba and there is documentary evidence that the Council unanimously agreed to endorse Msilimba to the President as the new Vice Chancellor.
Associate Msilimba had the highest average score at 4.1, trailed by Professor Joseph Uta with 3.8 and lastly Professor Peter Mumba with 2.9, according to minutes of the search Committee of Council held at Jenjewe room at Mzuzu Hotel.
Candidates were graded on a scare of 1-5 with 5 being highest score and 1 being lowest.
On Msilimba, the Committee which consisted of Chimphamba as Chairperson, Dr. Bernard Zingano, Maxon Chitawo, George Chitawo, Masawani Jere, Macphail Magwira, Luke Mwale, Mary Mwale and Michael Nkosi, noted that Msilimba had a superior performance and was very suitable for appointment.
“The committee agreed to recommend to the Council the appointment of Msilimba having emerged as the best candidate, subject to approval by the Chancellor,” reads minute number 23:12.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :