About six hundred government sponsored students at Mzuzu University (Mzuni) have been sent on an indefinite suspension following mayhem they caused over “insufficient meal allowances,” Nyasa Times has established.
Exempted from the suspension are self-sponsored students and, first years who began their studies in September this year.
Nyasa Times journalist Pius Nyondo in the Northern Region city of Mzuzu said “students went rowdy following a disagreement on how much they should receive as allowances in the month of December considering the fact that they were only supposed to be on campus till the 19th.”
He added: “They acted on the issue so irrationally to the extent that they went on the streets causing mayhem on a Saturday.”
The students wanted full monthly allowances of K40 000 each, a demand management branded as unjustifiable and had, instead given out K20 000.
Apparently, so Nyasa Times understands, government ordered all institutions of higher learning to start implementing a new system of disbursing student allowances which requires that the allowances be paid based on the period the students are on campus.
A memo issued and signed by the university registrar Vyson Jedegwa cited “barricading motorists on Karonga-Mzuzu M1 Road and sexually harassing members of the non-academic staff” as some of the main reasons for the suspension.
The memo had more than twenty other counts and did not indicate when the students would be coming back on campus.
An attempt to get an injunction through Mzuzu-based law firm Ralph & Arnolds hit a blank wall as Mzuzu High Court judge is said to have refused to grant the students the relief.
Meanwhile, a hearing is scheduled for tomorrow on the same; and, that will determine way forward on the fate of the students.
The students were supposed to finish the semester by the 19th of December.
Twelve students were arrested in the process and charged with conduct likely to cause a breach of peace, northern region police publicist Maurice Chapola confirmed to Nyasa Times.
Mzuzu-based private practice lawyer George Kadzipatike has since condemned Mzuni decision to suspend government-sponsored students without disciplinary hearing, arguing the decision is illegal.
According to Kadzipatike, the law requires that students go through a disciplinary process before being suspended. He said Mzuni’s decision is misguided and unlawful.
He also wondered how the university could suspend all the students without sieving those who were not involved in the riots.
Mzuni vice-chancellor Robert Ridley said they wanted to shut the whole school “but it would have been unfair to the self-sponsored students.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :