Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) says ut finds the summoning of leaders of the Student Union of the Chancellor College (SUCC), a constituent college of the University of Malawi (Unima), for disciplinary hearing by Chancellor College (Chanco) authorities, a serious threat to the country’s Constitution.
The eight including their president, Sylvester Ayuba James and general secretary Edward Chilenje will appear before the students’ disciplinary committee on August 22 at the college’s campus.
They are expected to answer to alleged misconduct and behaviour which brought the University into “disrepute, discredit the good name and prejudiced the peace, good order and good governance of the college.”
But CHRR said the summoning is misplace an also a serious threat to Section 35 and 38 if Malawi Constitution, which guarantees the right to freedom of expression and to assemble and demonstrate, respectively.
CHRR executive director Timothy Mtambi said in a statement that by summoning student leaders over the protests “ Chanco management risks demonstrating a balatant disregard for the constitutional rights of students leaders and the students who participated in the anti-fee hike protests.”
The college authorities have warned the students to unveil themselves at the hearing as failure to do so shall lead the committee into proceeding to hear the case in their absence and make all recommendations to the college Principal on the case.
The authorities have also advised the students to freely bring witnesses to the hearing.
Misunderstandings over the tuition fees started three months ago when the University of Malawi (Unima) Council raised tuition fees in its four constituent colleges from K55 000 and K275 000 at the Malawi Polytechnic, K380 000 at the Chancellor College, K340 000 Kamuzu College of Nursing and K500 000 for the College of Medicine and K900 000, 950 000 to K1.4 million for its mature students.
After a three hour discussion with President Peter Mutharika at Kamuzu palace in Lilongwe on August 4, the hiked fees was reduced by K50 000 across the board a thing which some students have described as a joke.