Both academic and support staff at Mzuzu university have fingered the institution’s seven-member management for the financial woes ravaging the institution, saying it is the worst performing team since the inception of the University in 1998.
Among other things they cite gross maladministration, micromanagement, nepotism, lack of transparency and accountability.
In a confidential document, authored by staff only known to Nyasa Times and titled ‘Mzuni staff 5% pay rejection – the facts, unresolved issues’ Mzuni staff raised 15 issues which they said need to be resolved to unyoke the institution from the current financial abyss and function properly.
But Mzuni Communications and Marketing Officer Chigo Gondwe Chokani, initially asked for a questionnaire which she said will be forwarded to the University Council for responses.
Paradoxically, Chokani herself is also fingered in the document as grabbing her post through nepotism and the back door.
“Again, Mzuni operating with a deficit budget, continues to recruit new staff. For instance, they recently recruited the daughter of the deputy vice chancellor, despite that there were better qualified candidates during the interviews, as a Communications and Marketing Officer. In fact, it is alleged that one editor working at a leading media house came out tops during the interview but was not picked just to appease the deputy vice chancellor,” the document said.
When pressed forresponses through a questionnaire, Gondwe Chokani demanded to know our sources and Nyasa Times rebuffed her request.
Strangely, she then asked Nyasa Times and its sources to formally write the University Council Chairperson Rex Harawa for answers.
“Council requests that you or your source(s) formally write to them on the issues you have raised in your communications and documents… Please send your letter to the Mzuzu University Council through Dr Rex Harawa who is the Chair of Council. His email address is as copied herein,” said Chokani in an emailed response.
On maladministration, they said the management team has nothing to show for its four years in existence except for extravagance and self-enrichment through unnecessary internal and external travel allowances.
They also claimed that in 2016 the University spent millions in lost court cases, for instance, a student who was erroneously granted a degree, when in fact he had repeat courses, successfully sued Mzuni and got MK 9 million through the Sheriff’s Office in December 2016.
“University decisions are only made by two or three members of the management team while the rest have been relegated as just mere handclappers or rubber stamps. The top management’s lackluster performance is among other things shown by a high staff turnover due to frustrations and intimidations,” said a source, who is part of the senior staff.
Consequently, Mzuni staff at their meeting held on 4th January 2017 unanimously passed a vote of no confidence on the top management which is composed of Vice Chancellor Robert Ridley, Deputy Vice Chancellor Loveness Kaunda, Registrar Vyson Jegedwa, Librarian Felix Majawa, Head of Finance and Investments Anthony Saburi, Director of Research Victor Kasulo and Director of Studies Simeon Gwayi.
This follows the Council’s offer of a paltry 5 % salary increment effective 1st January 2017, which they rejected and continued their stay away until their demand for a 35% is met.
They also point out that the VC, who lives in Lilongwe and is at Mzuni for three days a week, has been using a hired car BU3692 Toyota Hilux since 2013 costing the institutions millions every month in hire charges.
Staff are also surprised that management and council say they have no money to effect salary increases yet they spend MK140 million to sponsor Mzuni FC in the elite TNM Super league. Ironically no student plays for the team and the University Registrar is the Team manager, they said.
Apparently, all the mess is happening under the watch of the finance committee and external auditors because the internal auditor was unceremoniously forced to resign after exposing financial irregularities that have dogged Mzuni for years in his reports.
“We want the University Council to replace some members of management with mature, competent and highly qualified staff as soon as possible. We now fear for our jobs because some members of the top management have openly threatened Union leaders and other staff with vengeance once the pay standoff is over,” another senior staff member told Nyasa Times on condition of anonymity.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :