Fresh calls have come from the University Council asking University of Malawi’s (UNIMA) Chancellor College Senior Lecturer, Dr. Jessie Kabwila to resign following her appointment as Publicity Secretary for the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
University Council spokesperson Akuzike Maliwichi said University employees are not allowed to practise active politics because doing so amounts to conflict interest.
“That is why our regulations require them to resign or take leave of absence so that they can concentrate on one thing at a time,” Maliwichi told local press.
She added: “It does not require a Council to comment on the matter because the Unima regulations are very clear. Nyadani is a member of staff that got into politics after taking leave of absence from the very Chancellor College where Dr Kabwila is operating from.”
Other members of staff that took leave of absence to concentrate on politics according to Maliwichi were Cassim Chilumpha, former vice president and Member of Parliament for Nkhotakota Central Constituency; the late Matembo Mzunda.
United Party President John Chisi of College of Medicine has recently been granted leave of absence after he applied to the University Vice Chancellor.
But Kabwila said she is not the first employee of the University to join mainstream politics. She said the most important thing in the country is the cashgate and not her contract with the Unima.
But the spokesperson warned: “Just as lecturers up to Associate Professors are appointed at college level, their disciplinary matters too are heard at college level by the appointments and a disciplinary committee.”
Kabwila shot to stardom in 2011 during late President Bingu wa Mutharika’s administration when she almost singlehandedly fought for academic freedom for UNIMA lecturers, particularly those from Chancellor College.