By Chancy Namazunda
ZOMBA (G&A) –Malawi education activists have joined the vigil by Chancellor College students which is taking place at the University of Malawi offices in Zomba.
The students yesterday organized the highest patronized and well-organized demonstrations in the history of the college to force the office to act to the long standoff between the council and the lectures on academic freedom.
Executive Director of the Civil Society Coalition on Quality Basic Education (CSCQBE) Benedicto Kondowe said they decided to join the vigil in solidarity with the students who, they feel they are being denied their freedom to education.
â€œWe want the students to go back in class. They need to learn. We decided to join them because they have taken long without going into the class and we want the authority to act quickly,â€ he said whose team postponed the August 17 national wide vigil in protests against the governmentâ€™s poor governance and academic freedom was part of their petition as well.
The students, led by the Students Union of Chancellor College (SUCC) president Patrick Phiri handed over the petition to Vice Chancellor Emmanuel Fabiano demanding an explanation on why the college is not fully opened.
The students said they are not agents of anyone but they are just disgruntled individuals who want to learn.
The students further said they are disappointed with the council which is serving somebodyâ€™s interests and not their plight.
They have so far staged a vigil at the councilâ€™s office demanding that they should be addressed after every two hours until the standoff is solved.
Lecturers Â have vowed not to return to class unless their four colleagues â€” Chancellor College Academic Staff Union (CCASU) acting president Dr. Jessie Kabwila-Kapasula, CCASU legal advisor Dr. Garton Kamchedzera, CCASU Secretary General Franz Amin and the man at the centre of the controversy, Dr. Blessings Chinsinga. â€” who were fired by council, are reinstated.
Lecturers say they donâ€™t want to return to classes when their colleagues who were fighting for academic freedom have been victimised with sacking.
The council claimed that the four were relieved of their duties because they were not reporting for work.