UNIMA graduands petition Chakwera over delayed graduation

By Synd Kalimbuka

University of Malawi graduands have petitioned Malawi’s President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera to intervene on the delayed graduation which was supposed to be held last year.

This follows the standoff which is there between graduates and University Council.

In his statement before presenting the petition to the Office of the President and Cabinet through Zomba district council on Friday, Publicity Secretary for concerned students taskforce Masida Shaba said they want President Chakwera who is the Chancellor of University of Malawi to use executive order to make sure that the date for the graduation is released with immediate effect.

Shaba said the second reason they have demonstrated was that they are against council’s plans to conduct online graduation.

“We are not in line with decision by University Council to give us what they call virtual graduation where they conduct through online,” he said.

The concerned students said online graduation does not respect the right of fellow friends with visual impairment.

The concerned graduands also said they are against the reasons University Council is giving on conducting online graduation one of them being complaining about Coronavirus preventive measures which they repeatedly assured the council to abide by all the rules gazetted concerning Covid -19.

“We also argued that political rallies are being held by government officials the latest being the one held at Pirimiti during the launch of Affordable Input Programme (AIP) where the President attended,” he said.

He added: “What we want is normal graduation not giving us unpractical reason. We want the President to intervene in this issue immediately so that we graduate.”

Receiving the petition on behalf of Zomba district commissioner, Director of Education Charles Sakwata thanked them for conducting peaceful demonstration and urged them to maintain the same.

Sakwata further assured them that the council will deliver the petition to relevant authorities.

Graduands from Chancellor college, Kamuzu college of Nursing, College of Medicine and Polytechnic were supposed to have graduation last year but it was suspended due to Covid 19 pandemic.

Out of the concerned graduates, only two, Masida Shaba from CHANCO and Faith Kaferawanthu from KCN were available and presented petition on behalf of their colleagues with presence of over 20 police officers who escorted them.