Chanco closed indefinately

Chanco students during their vigil.

Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika on Saturday
ordered closure of Chancellor College a constituent colleges of the University of Malawi ‘with immediate effect’ due to students vigil pressing
University authorities to resolve the stand-off with
lecturers.

Assistant registrar at
Chancellor College responsible or students welfare Ellias Chizimba confirmed that Chancellor College (Chanco) had been closed and students were told to leave the campus
with immediate effect.

Said Chizimba: “I can confirm about the closure of Chancellor College. Students have been told to leave the College by 12:OO noon on Saturday.”

In a statement, University of Malawi (Unima) announced the indefinite closure;

“The University of Malawi has continued to spend a lot of public resources on the running of Chancellor College at a time when the majority of lecturers are not teaching and when students have not shown keenness to take advantage of the classes that some lecturers were
delivering.

“This being the case, Council of the University of Malawi, at its Extraordinary Meeting held at the College of Medicine on the evening of 26th August, 2O11 resolved to close Chancellor College with immediate effect,” read the statement.
The statement signed by
UNIMA registrar Benedict
Wokomaatani Malunga said “during the period of closure, the Council of the University of Malawi will be exploring ways and means of bringing about normalcy to the College.”

The Chanco students have not been attending classes despite its reopening on July 4.

Students Union of Chancellor College (Succ) president Patrick Phiri said there was also heavy presence of the police at Chanco where students were seen scampering for their lives as police officers invaded the campus. He said students have resolved to seek court redress on the matter.

Civil Society Coalition for
Quality Basic Education
(CSCQBE) executive director
Benedicto Kondowe,
condemned government for failing to resolve the long- drawn impasse on academic freedom.

And social-political activist
Ben Chiza Mkandawire e-
mailed Nyasa Times from
Blantyre to register his
dismay at the Mutharika’s
decision and criticised his heavy-handiness in closing
down the college.

“Mutharika is discouraging
secondary school students
from aspiring to go to
university. He must resign peaceful,” Mkandawire said.

The University lecturers’
stand-off emanated from an unprecedented meeting between Inspector General of Police Peter Mukhito and Associate Political Science Professor Blessings Chinsinga.
Mukhito accused Chinsinga
after he told a public policy
class that crises like Malawi’s persistent fuel shortages canlead to insurrections like those
that have toppled the governments of President Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt.

The lecturers downed their
tools in protest against what they called interference of their academic freedom. They
demanded an apology from the police chief and assurances of academic freedom.

President Mutharika said
Mukhito will not apologise.

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