Malawian President Peter Mutharika’s “total silence” on closure of public universities in the country has not pleased civil society groups fighting on the affairs of the youths in Malawi, which has called on authorities to resolve the disputes rocking them institutions and ensure that they re-open them forthwith.
Students from four colleges – the Polytechnic, Mzuzu University, Natural Resources College and Malawi College of Health Sciences – on Monday fire some warning shorts about the Mutharika’s leadership failure to resolve the disputes that have resulted in the closure of the colleges.
The Civil Society Education Coalition (Csec) and the Youth and Society (YAS), have also added their voice to condemn the “unmeritorious closure” of the institutions of higher learning and the “total collapse of leadership” in the management and governance of these institutions.
The groups have branded the current state if academic affairs in Malawi to a failed, careless and clueless political leadership.
“We wish to declare the current state of academic affairs in Malawi a ‘total disaster’; symptomatic of a failed, careless and clueless political leadership at all levels of Government. We wish to remind President Mutharika and his administration that young people of this country shall not negotiate on their Right to Education as guaranteed by Sections 25 and 13 (f) of Constitution hence he must wake up and fix the crisis or tell Malawians he is not fit to serve,“ said YAS’s Executive Director Charles Kajoloweka.
Kajoloweka slammed President Mutharika saying he cannot continue abdicating his constitutional obligation of providing sound leadership on matters of national significance.
He said President Mutharika “should come out and account for the current crisis and provide a sense of direction.”
Kajoloweka argues that under the Constitution’s Principles of National Policy, the government is called upon to provide adequate resources to the education sector and devise programs in order to offer greater access to higher learning and continuing education (section 13(f)).
“It is not uncommon that the current crisis in institutions of higher learning has acidic bearing on socio-economic development of young people, families and general population and militates against the national development ambitions,” he said.
YAS also demands government to re-open the affected institutions forthwith and did not spare the UNIMA council saying the “Council should step down forthwith for its incompetence in running the affairs of UNIMA” and that “government should consider embarking on a robust stakeholder engagement and consultations on financing of higher education in Malawi.”
Kajoloweka and his group have warned that failure to re-open the affected institutions of higher learning in time, will lead them in facilitating a civil action by November 30.
The public universities have been closed over fee hike and salary dispute of academic staff with some colleges now closed for four months.
In its editorial comment on Tuesday, The Nation newspaper also criticised President Mutharika for his inaction over the stalemate, saying it was expected that as the highest authority of the institutions, Mutharika would use his powers “to find lasting solutions to the problems.”
But the paper said what is not only surprising, but also annoying to all concerned parties is that “there is total silence from the leadership.”
The editorial comment pointed out that the silence of Mutharika is reminiscent of the nine month closure of Chancellor College and the Polytechnic over the academic freedom saga a couple of years ago when President Peter Mutharika was Minister of Education.
“The fact of the matter is that the buck stops at the Chancellor of these universities. He should be able to use his powers to make the councils of the respective colleges to resolve the impasse over the issues,” reads the paper’s editorial comment.
It says that at stake following the prolonged closure of the colleges is the education of the students who expect to break the chains of poverty gripping them and the country through education which is now at standstill.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :