Kabwila bows out, Madise new Chanco union leader

The Chancellor College Academic Staff Union (CCASU) has elected one of Malawi’s renowned trade unionists and industrial relations experts Sunduzwayo  Madise as its new president.

Madise was elected unopposed and he takes over from Dr Jessie Kabwila-Kapasula, the Iron Lady who did not compete as she now represents the University of Malawi’s constituent college in a higher inter-university body.

Dr Kabwila-Kapasula made news across the world last year when she stood firm and fervently battled the former regime of late President Bingu wa Mutharika in defending the lectures’ academic freedom.

Madise: New academic staff union leader

Government shut down Chancellor College (CHANCO) for close to a year while students at the Polytechnic spent about four months without learning after a protracted war over the academic freedom issue.

Chancellor and the Polytechnic are two largest constituent colleges of University of Malawi and the battle started after the then Malawi Police Chief Peter Mukhito summoned  political science
lecturer Dr Blessings Chinsinga for interrogation over an example he gave in his public policy class.

And reacting to his election in an interview with Nyasa Times on Thursday, Madise said he was humbled to have been elected President of the Union and pledged to work with dedication and continue from where the past team left.

“Clearly we will have different approaches but our goal is the same. CCASU stood by values during difficult times. It was not easy. It is upon those values that I will embark my leadership journey along the winding road, but with hope that we will get there. We must, failure is not an option,” said Madise, a law lecturer and Deputy Head of Department of Practical Legal Studies at Chanco.

He added: “I will lead the Union and work with the members according to the Union’s constitution whilst espousing union values I have learnt elsewhere so that we can improve our conditions of work as well as fulfill the objects of the establishment of the Union.”

The new president, who has led the University of Malawi Students Union and the Malawi Congress of Trade Unions before said he was humbled to have been entrusted to lead a unique union of intellectuals that he respects and admires.

“CCASU is a unique union. In fact I would say leading CCASU may not be a huge task, but
definitely my most challenging position so far. So it is indeed humbling for a fairy young academic like me to be trusted with this task, especially as a successor to the Iron Lady,” said Madise, who is
also coordinator of LLM in Commercial Law at the college.

“My vision is to ensure that CCASU remains a strong, relevant and progressive union. I believe in contact and dialogue. I also believe where two sides come together to negotiate in earnest, solutions will be found. It is my hope that this will guide my tenure and that of my fellow executives so that Chancellor College continues being a centre of academic excellence and a first choice for Malawian scholars,” he said.

Madise also said he was fortified that there was now a government that has taken Malawian issues at heart and is willing to listen to people.

“Indeed these are exciting times to make Malawi a better place for all. But for me, my priority is to serve with dedication and diligence the membership of CCASU, who have entrusted me with this mantle of leadership,” said the new president.

Madise’s Profile

He has 23 years of proper unionism and has held various positions in union bodies both locally and internationally such as Vice President and President of Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU), Chairman of University of Malawi Students Union (UMSU), President of ESCOM Workers Union (EWU), Secretary of Southern Africa Energy Workers Union (SAEN), Executive Member Southern Africa Trade Union Council (SATUC) and Board Member of the Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC).

He has a Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics and worked for over a decade as an electronics and electrical engineer.
“Interestingly, most of my friends thought I was studying arts because I was always on stage acting, or in the writes workshop discussing poems and short stories,” enthuses Madise.

He also has LLB (Hons) Degree and LLM in International Trade, Business and Investment Law. He now intends to undertake a Doctor of Laws (LLD) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

CCASU committee members

The newly elected CCASU committee comprises Madise, Vice President is Associate Prof Dr Mufunanji Magalasi, Symon Chiziwa is the Secretary with Dickson Mazibuko as his deputy while Treasurer is Dr Richard Nyirongo and he is deputized by Esela Gondwe.

Committee members are Brown Msiska, former journalist Dr. Timwa Lipenga, Tiyesere
Chikapa-Jamali and Dr Mangani Katundu.

No member from the previous CCASU committee was retained in the new committee and according to reports, none offered for re-election because some had served the maximum terms while others felt it was time to pass the baton to others.

“This is democracy at work. But we are working hand in hand with the new team to achieve and realise our goals,” said a member of the old committee.

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