Chanco opening crucifies Zomba residents

Chancellor College Great Hall

When holiday ends for students at Chancellor College (Chanco), a constituent of the University of Malawi (Unima), it marks the sunrise of an ugly season for surrounding villages as prices of commodities go up.

Students at Chancellor College  said to be triggering commodity price increase

Residents of the popular Chikanda Village which is just a stone throw away from the institution have expressed dissatisfaction over the usual rise in cost of living once classes resume at the college.

In an interview with Malawi24, one of the residents argued that it is a custom among business people to raise prices when the college opens.

This year’s rise is said to be very high considering the depreciation of the local currency which has seen prices going up nationwide. In this respect, the countrywide hike and that which comes into effect when the school opens, has hit hard the residents.

Peter Kamala said: “This year’s rise in prices of commodities is very unreasonable and it’s the first of its kind in years. Bread cost us K270.00 but with the coming of students, it now costs K350.00 when in real sense it was supposed to cost us K300.00 after the nationwide changes in prices of goods.”

A cross-section of students told this publication that it is hard for them to notice the hike because they do not live in the area hence they do not have a choice.

“Of course prices are claimed to have gone high, but we just have to comply because we rarely buy goods from this side as we depend on major retail shops in town,” said one of the students, Ephraim Zulu.

However, businesspersons have defended their actions. They say when the institution of higher learning opens; it provides them with an opportunity to make profits since business is usually “dead” in Chikanda.

A business woman popularly known as “Amai a Joy” told Malawi24 that when the institution closes some traders disappear but they reappear when holidays are over.

She said: “Traders who continue to run their businesses during holidays operate at a loss that is why they raise prices once school resumes.”

However, Amai a Joy who sells vegetables, fish, cooking oil and charcoal claim that holiday or no holiday she still makes profits because she is the only one among traders doing a similar business who keeps her shop running.