The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) has condemned Chancellor College (Chanco) management for summoning student leaders to appear before a disciplinary committee over the anti-fees hike demonstrations.
On Monday this week, Chanco management summoned the Students Union of Chancellor College (SUCC) for disciplinary talks on the demonstrations that led to closure of the campus.
According to the management, the SUCC leaders are to blame for organizing “unlawful assembly and demonstrations in protest against the fees hike despite being restrained by management through a memo.” However, CHRR has described the development as a threat to Malawi’s constitution arguing that section 35 and 37 provides freedom of expression and assembly respectively.
In a statement made available to Malawi24, CHRR executive director Timothy Mtambo disclosed that the summoning of SUCC leaders has also been “misplaced”.
“Thus, by summoning a students union leader over the aforementioned protest, chanco management risks demonstrating a blatant disregard for the constitutional rights of students leaders and all the students who participated in the anti-fees hike protest.
“Chanco must take cognizance of the fact that the unilateral hike of University of Malawi (UNIMA) fees to such prohibitive levels creates unprecedented panic and unrest among most UNIMA students. As such it was only prudent for the students to assemble and map the way foward,” reads part of the statement.
The organisation further warned Chanco management to avoid conducting itself for political correctness arguing that it is the same factor that led to protracted academic freedom saga in 2011.
CHRR also called on government to consider genuine dialogue to find lasting solutions on the fees hike matter as students continue pleading for further slash of the fees from the pegged K350,000 for generic students.