President Peter Mutharika might have intervened into the University conundrum but the way he handled the dialogue with the University students left a bitter pill in the Chancellor College Students Union’s (SUCC) mouth.
SUCC president Sylvester James Ayuba has accused President Peter Mutharika of showing dictatorial tendencies by stopping him from raising students’ concerns during the meeting University of Malawi student leaders had with the president over the fees hike issue.
In a statement, Ayuba said that he took a strong opposing stance against any fees more than K300,000 for generic students and K600,000 for mature entry students during the meeting.
“Surprisingly, the president himself who chaired the meeting angrily told me not to speak again as he said that I was dominating the meeting and I should let others to speak since he didn’t only want to listen to me,” Ayuba said.
According to Ayuba, the president further accused some UMSU members of advancing their “selfish political interest.”
The Chanco student also regretted the decision to have an audience with the president saying it diminished chances of having their grievances met.
“Capability of winning the #UnimaFeesMustFall battle was there but the completion of the battle was thwarted after meeting president Mutharika at Kamuzu Palace where he ordered a K50,000 fees reduction across the board without allowing the University of Malawi Students Union to discuss the proposed amount with Students of various constituents Colleges of University of Malawi whom they represent.
“I reluctantly became part of the idea just by virtue of the fact that I couldn’t do anything on my own in a group of many,” said Ayuba.
The SUCC president added that towards the end, when the President suggested rigidly a K50,000 across-the-board reduction, he thought UMSU president Tiwonge Sikwese was going to ask Mutharika to allow them to consult with their fellow students.
“I thought that would be our best exit statement from the mediation hook. Unfortunately, even before I passed a note to him to say something like that, he had already said “thank you” after Mutharika had told him to submit proposed figures for mature entry students,” Ayuba said.
However, Sikwese said he will only comment on the issue after briefing fellow students from the public universities.
At the meeting, Mutharika also ordered the reopening of Chancellor College which was closed last month after riots ensued over the fees hike.