UNIMA yet to respond, Chanco vigil continues

By Makhumbo R. Munthali, a Correspondent

Students Union of Chancellor College (SUCC) spokesperson Austin Misoya has revealed that the University of Malawi Council is yet to respond to the petition which was presented to it on Monday over the continued absence of normal classes at the institution.

In probably one of the highest patronized and well-organised demonstration in the history of Chancellor College, students peacefully marched to the UNIMA offices in Zomba where they staged a Vigil almost the whole day in a bid to bring their grievances to the attention of the University authorities.

When contacted on whether this petition was responded to as demanded by students, Misoya said that the University Council was yet to respond to the petition but was quick to say that despite all this they were still hopefull that they would do so soon.

Chanco students at University Office in Zomba. Photo: Makhumbo R. Munthali/Nyasa Times

“After we had presented the petition to the Vice Chancellor in the morning we waited for almost the whole day for their feedback. However, it was around 4pm when I and the President were briefed by the Vice Chancellor that he had not received any feedback from the UNIMA Council but the petition was sent to them,” said Misoya.

He, however, expressed optimism that UNIMA Council would soon act on their petition.

In a two-paged document dated 18th August 2011 addressed to the University of Malawi Council and read by SUCC President Patrick 0’Phade Phiri in the presence of UNIMA Vice Chancellor Dr Emmanuel Fabiano and UNIMA Registrar Benedicto Okomaatani Malunga, Chancellor College students contends that the step taken by UNIMA Council to solely bank on the court process in order to solve the impasse has left them in an ‘awkward situation’.

They said they are in a situation whereby they are “bearing the most, if not all, of the pain and burden”- bearing in mind the fact that the court process “moves slowly and can take ages before a remedy is found.”

In reference to non-residential students, the petition states that such students are “spending their parents’ and guardians’ hard-earned money on such things as accommodation and tuition for almost nothing.”

In view of all the problems cited in the petition, reads part of the document, students strongly feel that the “Council is not looking into” their “plight but rather it’s trying to serve its own interests.”

Students therefore demand an urgent action on the part of Council that will ensure their immediate resumption of classes and also propose that genuine dialogue with the lecturers should be instituted in view of achieving the same.

“Our aim is not to cause havoc at your offices, but that the sight of us here make you notice our suffering, take a human heart and make you to expedite your actions…We should also stress here that there is nothing that will make us stop coming here apart from the proper resumption of classes at our institution” reads the last part of the petition which is signed on behalf of students by Patrick O’phade Phiri (SUCC President) and Austin Misoya (SUCC Speaker).

Meanwhile, the vigil by Chancellor College students at the University Office continues Tuesday.

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