As tensions and grievances over the University Of Malawi fees hike fail to die, the civil society groups in Malawi led by the Youth and Society (YAS) have vowed to take to the streets of Malawi on 4 August demanding non-implementation of the fees hike and immediate re-opening of Chancellor College which was closed after students riot over fees hike.
In a Press Statement which has been signed by YAS Executive Director, Charles Kajoloweka said the organization is shocked with the UNIMA fees stalemate and subsequent closure of Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawidescribing it asmost regrettable.
Part of the Press Statement reads; “We consciously find students’ expression of discontent over the fees hike extremely genuine, patriotic and heroic at a time when the economy is severely anemic and decrepit. The University Administration itself has expressed the same point of view in terms of rising costs of running the University. The students are justified to defend themselves and Malawian society at large against this insensitive and unjustified fees hike by the UNIMA Council. We therefore endorse the students’ position geared to jealously defend the Right to Education on behalf of all citizens.”
Theorganization said the protests which the students conducted were the only last resort to reveal to the nation that these students see things beyond and the students are also sympathetic to other young Malawians capable of entering University, who are kept out by impediments such as fees hikes, apart from the demonic quota system.
Kajoloweka: We say no to UNIMA fees hike
YAS has further condemned the Government’s failure to amicably resolve the students’ grievances following the fees hike.
“Insteadof resolving the students grievances, the Government chose to indefinitely shut down Chancellor College, the constituent college of the University of Malawi. We find this action by the Government highly insensitive, development unconscious and unacceptable. It smacks of total leadership failure by both the University Council and the DPP administration under President Peter Mutharika,” Malawi Muslims Website quotes.
YAS said government is using indefinite closure of institutions of higher learning as a tool of intimidation and suppression of citizen voicesand reminded the government that the fees hike stalemate at UNIMA is not only a students’ issue, but a national development issue with deep public interest that needs redress.
“A similar situation arose at Mzuzu University, and the matter was settled amicably between the Administration and students. This in comparative terms exhibits certain humane considerations MZUNI attached to views that were expressed by students there, who were in identical circumstances with those at CHANCO, and elsewhere,” continues part of the letter which Malawi Muslims Website is in possession dated 21st July 2016.
YAS asked for immediate reopening of the Chancellor College and review of the hiked fees by the UNIMA Council, failing which,the organization will call for country wide demonstrations.
“We wish to inform and assure Government and all Malawians that should government fail to satisfactorily address the UNIMA stalemate in time, we at YAS will on 4 August 2016 organise and coordinate a country wide mass civil action to hold government accountable on the same,” it concludes.
Other CSOs that have joined YAS in coordinating the 4th August demonstrations include Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC), Youth With Vision (YWV), and Student Unions of CHANCO, Polytechnic, KCN. A renowned Human rights activist, Billy Mayaya, is also part of this civil action and vowed to lead from the front.