Malawi govt set to dissolve Mzuzu University Council

The Malawi government has indicated that it will cancel contracts for the Mzuzu University (Mzuni) Council and appoint a new one to steer the embattled institution to a path of growth so that it provides quality tertiary education.

Of late Malawi NGOs have called upon President Joyce Banda, who is Mzuni Chancellor by virtue of being Head of State, to fire the Council saying it had lost direction.

Mzuni is saddled with huge debts and gets MK1.5 billion government subvention instead of MK2.5 billion. Apart from that the institution’s lawyers are always in courts trying to save in from numerous legal battles.

A senior official in the Ministry of Education, Science and technology, confided in  Nyasa Times that Mzuni Chancellor had lost confidence in the Council and “is embarrassed with the negative publicity the institution receives from the media”

Chimphamba: Mzuni Council boss
Chimphamba: Mzuni Council boss

“Honestly, Mzuni is always in the news for the wrong things. It appears as if it’s the only University in Malawi. Something is terribly wrong there,” he said.

Mzuni Council Chairperson Professor Brown Chimphamba refused to comment on the issue but referred Nyasa Times to a Mzuni new Registrar a Mr. Jegedwa, who neither responded to our questionnaires nor answered our calls.

A few days ago Youth and Society, a local NGO, asked government to consider that Council members serve for a fixed number of years and not any open term as is the case now.

“This will help to inject fresh accepted wisdom into the university’s leadership. Some members have been Council members for almost a decade, a situation that has brought laxity and inefficiency,” it said.

They singled out Prof Chimphamba and Mzuzu Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Boss Harrison Kalua as some of the Council members dragging Mzuni down because they have been in Council for as long as the existence of Mzuni.

“We are dazed by developments that have stalled the recruitment of the Vice Chancellor allegedly due to breach of recruitment procedure by the Council. We condemn the Council’s failure to competently conduct the recruitment process to fill the position of the Vice Chancellor.

While the Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) also asked Dr. President Banda to immediately reconstitute the  Council saying the path of policy direction that the Council is taking, is by all measure vindicative of its failure to practice good governance.

“Why should the Council be so mean as to allow the university to run without the Vice Chancellor for three years?” questioned CSEC Executive director Benedict Kondowe.

He said  Mzuni Council, amidst all the developments, can only be said to have lost direction which compromises the provision of quality education at the institution.

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