Mzuzu University (Mzuni) Students Union president Wazamazama Katatu used the a two-day Sixth All-Inclusive Stakeholders Conference organised by the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) in Blantyre to criticise President Peter Mutharika and his administration on the state of education in the country.
Katatu said public institutions of higher learning in the country were facing many challenges but that President Peter Mutharika who is also Chancellor is not offering a solution or help “which is very much frustrating university students.”
He said: “Particularly when we hear that the whole sitting President and sitting Chancellor can stand on the public [podium] to say ‘am not the solution’, we get very much demoloralised.”
Katatu added: “Is President still relevant to continue as Chancellor of public universities?”
Said Katatu: “Visibility of chancellorship should not only be during graduation ceremonies but offering solutions”.
He branded the current state of academic affairs total disaster indicative of a failed, careless and clueless political leadership
Said Katatu: “The President has failed and should pave way for others”.
Katatu made the remarks at the conference which was attended by a high-powered government delegation comprising 11 officials including Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu, Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume, Minister of Transport and Public Works Jappie Mhango, director of communications for the State Residences, Bright Molande, chief presidential adviser on domestic policy Hetherwick Ntaba; presidential adviser on religious affairs Timothy Khoviwa and presidential adviser on civil society and non-governmental organisations Mavuto Bamusi.
Meanwhile, there is a circulation of a petition which has gone viral on various online forums asking students of the University of Malawi (Unima) to petition their fellows at Oxford University not let President Mutharika address them.
Mutharika will address the Oxford University students union – one of the world’s oldest – on Friday.
In the petition, being championed by a number of education think-tanks and rights activists including Billy Mayaya, Unima students are being asked to question Mutharika for accepting to address Oxford University when Chancellor College – a constituent of Unima – has remained closed for more than six months, and he has failed to address various grievances raised in numerous appeals directed to his office.
The grievances are supposed to be addressed through email@example.com.
Reads part of the petition: “He is presiding over a government that is impeding academic freedom and the right of the university to carry out research. This is evidenced by the government’s recent condemnation of the recent Afrobarometer study of the State of Governance in Malawi.
“Additionally, Malawi’s political social economic status has been severely affected by the lack of transparency and accountability in the use of public resources and increased corrupt practices evidenced by the withdrawal of donor support.
“As civil society, we believe that it is hypocrisy for the President of Malawi to paint a rosy picture of the otherwise pathetic state of Malawi’s crumbling education, agriculture and health sectors.”
But Dedza East lawmaker Juliana Lunguzi expressed indifference as regarding the petition arguing Mutharika should be allowed to address the students union.
“Let him speak at Oxford rather the request should be to ask APM his opinion about the current strike. How about that? …. Fine let the students ask him what he thinks as a champion of education in Malawi and Youth Champion in Africa when he can’t mediate on the current standoff,” argued Lunguzi.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :