University of Malawi (Unima) Council has withdrawn its case against lecturer and former Chancellor College Academic Staff Union (Ccasu) acting President Jessie Kabwila-Kapasula and the Attorney General.
The Unima Council through a prominent lawyer Kalekeni Kaphale filed a court suit against the two and the entire Ccasu membership seeking them to contribute towards K55 million (almost US$212,000) compensation which Chancellor College students were demanding as losses during the academic freedom impasse.
However, according to a notice filed at the Zomba High Court registry, Kaphale has since asked the court to discontinue the case.
“Take notice that the defendants hereby wholly discontinue the third party proceedings against both third parties,” reads the notice filed on July 10, 2012 and signed by Kaphale under Civil Cause Number 149 of 2012.
The withdrawal of the case follows a letter which Ccasu President Sunduzwayo Madise wrote to the Council demanding the withdrawal of the case and also a petition to President Joyce Banda asking her to dissolve the Unima Council.
In the letter to the Council with the heading Demand of Withdrawal of Legal Action Against Ccasu, also dated July 10, 2012, Madise said the Union writes to express great disappointment with the legal action that the Council has taken to include Ccasu Members as Third Party in the case.
“It is very unfortunate that you have decided to expend your energies to resurrect an issue that was ebbing after an acrimonious struggle. Instead of working towards healing wounds which emerged, it is disturbing and worrying that your Council has taken a course of action that reignites the confrontation between the two parties,” reads the letter.
It adds: “This action is provocative and not in tandem of our expectation of your role of ensuring the smooth running of the University. Furthermore, we consider your action as an unnecessary
abuse of the Court process and a deliberate abuse of tax payers’ funds. We see no merit in your action save as a ploy to disrupt teaching and learning in the University.”
“In view of the above, CCASU and Academic Members of Staff demand a retraction of the Court summons your lawyers recently served on us within seven days. Should you not respond favourably to this demand, CCASU reserves the right to take any action it deems necessary,” concludes the letter.
Vote of No Confidence
In the petition to the President, Madise accused the Council of reigniting the dark days of the Academic Freedom struggle instead of it spending its energies on restoring and rebuilding its battered image.
The letter to President Banda entitled Vote of No Confidence in University of Malawi Council and Top University Management, was sent also same Tuesday July 10, 2012.
“Your Excellency, it is our conviction that Council’s action is a deliberate and calculated scheme by a clique to sabotage the emerging harmony within the University and create room for chaos and conflict. As a Union we refuse to be complicit to such a scheme,” said Madise.
Added Madise: “Ccasu and its Membership including other Members of Academic Staff convey a vote of no confidence in the leadership of the Council and top University Management. The continued assumption of these offices by current holders is recipe for tension and conflict
which can only be to the detriment of the goals.Your Excellency, it is our hope that Your Excellency shall see merit in this petition and act in the best interests of the University of Malawi.”