Malawi ‘varsity students divided over class boycott

Some Chancellor College’s (Chanco) students, a constituent college of the University of Malawi (Unima), say they see no progress in their continued class sit-in and have since called on the college’s student union to call off the sit-in.

But Chanco’s Student Union body has accused those students pressing for resumption of classes of orchestrating divisions among the students there.

Some concerned students held a meeting Saturday where they agreed to return to class, arguing that the sit-in they started last week will bear not fruit and have lost trust in the class boycott.

During the meeting which was punctuated by dissenting views, the said concerned students said they were willing to go back to class and proposed that the meals at the college’s cafeteria be subsidized to be in line with their monthly living allowance of K32,700.

Chanco students: Playing games on campus

Chanco students: Playing games on campus

Reacting to the concerned student’s meeting through a memorandum issued Sunday, the Student Union claimed that the decision by the concerned students to press for classes is aimed at dividing the student’s body.

“Succ bemoans the behavior of some quarters which are orchestrating divisions among us. They are up to destroying the noble course that was sanctioned by the general assembly by vote of the majority that we should be on sit-in and do vigils while negotiations are taking place.

“Succ is reliably informed that some administrators within the campus, party wings, some civil servants and some police officers are working tooth and nail to making sure that Chanco’s grievances are not heard and [heed],” reads the memorandum in part.

President of the Student Union, Isreal Masiyano also alleged in separate interview that those pushing for resumption of classes have been bribed by authorities cause divisions among the students.

Masiyano, however, expressed optimism that they will reach a consensus on the matter.

Polytechnic and Chanco have been boycotting classes since Monday last week pressing the government to increase their living allowances in line with cost of living.

The students are also demanding that the tuition fees for self-sponsored students be reduced.

This forced Unima Council to close the both campuses but Polytechnic students rushed to the High Court in Blantyre where they obtained an injunction ordering the authorities to  keep the colleges open.

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