Chanco students begin indefinite vigil

By Courtex Nzima, Nyasa Times

Students at University of Malawi’s Chancellor College (Chanco) in Zomba on Monday started an indefinite vigil to force University authorities to resolve the academic freedom stand-off as they have not been learning due to the impasse.

The students marched to the University Office, located about two kilometres away, to present a petition to Vice Chancellor Emanuel Fabiano .

Students Union of Chancellor College (Succ) Patrick  Phiri said the students were holding the vigil to voice their concerns because most classes have not resumed since July 4 when President Bingu wa Mutharika ordered the reopening of Chanco and the Polytechnic (Poly) after a long-drawn battle on academic freedom.

Students union president present petition . Photo: ZBS

They demand the council to resolve the academic freedom impasse and vowed  to continue with the vigil until the classes resume fully.

Fabiano told students that he will forward the petition to the UNIMA council for proper attention.

He requested the students to “go back to college” since their views will be acknowledged.

However, the students heckled the vice chancellor when he was addressing them, demanding him to resign.

The students have vowed not to leave the University Office until they get convincing answers and continued dancing,  singing songs against the Council’s leadership.

James Winga a second year law student told Nyasa Times that they have not been  leaning since they came to College in July.

“We have paid fees, rentals and other things but no classes,” he said.

Meanwhile, the students have ordered the Cafeteria to provide food where they are.

Chanco closed down mid February after lecturers refused to return to classes for fear of spies after their colleague, associate professor Blessings Chinsinga, was summoned by Inspector General (IG) of Police Peter Mukhito over an example he gave in a public policy class about uprising in the Arab world.

Chancellor College Academics Staff Union (Ccasu) have not returned to duty following the opening of the University close to two months ago.

Lecturers  have vowed not to return to class unless their four colleagues — Chancellor College Academic Staff Union (CCASU) acting president Dr. Jessie Kabwila-Kapasula, CCASU legal advisor Dr. Garton Kamchedzera, CCASU Secretary General Franz Amin and the man at the centre of the controversy, Dr. Blessings Chinsinga. — who were fired by council, are reinstated.

Lecturers say they don’t want to return to classes when their colleagues who were fighting for academic freedom have been victimised with sacking.

The council claimed that the four were relieved of their duties because they were not reporting for work.

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