As our country is busy sorting out real national issues—to fire incompetent MEC commissioners and constitute a new commission in readiness for the constitutional court ordered fresh election, we must also spare a moment for the chaos and confusion at Mzuzu University. Mzuni needs cleansing as well. We have a bunch of selfish and unpatriotic Lecturers, incompetent Management team and an irresponsible crop of students.
Read this slowly: Mzuzu University has one of the most selfish and unpatriotic Lecturers who think they are the only ones who can discharge the job as Lecturers in Malawi. We want to make it categorically clear that there are many graduates in Malawi and with Masters Degrees for that matter who are unemployed. Like Bingu warned last time, irresponsible University Lecturers like the ones at Mzuni, can be replaced within two weeks if fired.
This is why we must all be worried of the attitude of Mzuni Lecturers. Consider the following: Mzuzu University opened in early September 2019, two weeks before Chancellor College opened on 16th September, 2019. As a result of incompetence of Mzuzu University administrators led by the Vice Chancellor Kalenga Saka and University Registrar Yonamu Ngwira of failing to release examination results in time and not allowing students with financial problems from registering provisionally, protests by students ensued. Some lecturers were caught in the cross-fire of the students demonstrators directed at Mzuni Management.
The end result was that the Lecturers cried foul citing security concerns. The school did not commence for a good one month or more. In the meantime, academic business at Chancellor College was progressing smoothly.
The incompetent Mzuzu University administrators needlessly suspended and fired students in clear breach of principles of nature justice just to appease the Lecturers to return to work.
This shows that the Lecturers are more powerful than Management in that they can dictate rules of engagement. Thus why we argue that Management at Mzuzu University, the employer of these so called Lecturers, has no spine over their own employees. Never will an employee be above an employer.
After appeasing them, we understood that academic business was now in session, in a chaotic manner though. We understand that Lecturers can choose when to lecture, now its routine, they learn Saturday’s or Sunday’s disguising as make-up classes thereby compromising student’s spiritual lives. The incompetent Mzuni administrators see nothing wrong in that.
Then we learnt that just two weeks before commencement of end of semester examination, the selfish Lecturers joined by supporting staff were at it again, demanding a pay hike thereby bringing the whole academic business into disarray.
Students were in the mood of preparing for end of semester examination, their preparations have been put on hold. The academic or should we say the examination momentum they gathered for the then impending examination have all been lost. As we write this, the Lecturers have put their feet on the ground vowing that they will not go back to their core duties unless the university effects their proposed increment. Picketing has been the order of the day by the Lecturers, locking all class-rooms leaving students helpless.
Had it been that the Lecturers were patriotic, they would have put the welfare of their innocent students first. Fully knowing that there was two weeks to go before examination, they would have allowed the students to sit for examinations. If anything, they would have withhold examination results until management accommodates their demands. These Lecturers have been students before. How would they feel or react if they were mistreated the way they are mistreating the current students?
Such silly things do not happen at the mother of all universities in Malawi—Chancellor College. The Lecturers there are understanding. They put the welfare of their students first. They know they have ever been students before; they don’t react savagely when caught in the cross fire of university demonstrations against administrators. They don’t hate their students. The issues students have with administrators do not concern them. They don’t poke their noses in their welfare. They don’t seek to oust administrators.
We are not saying pay hike demand is unreasonable. It is but as Lecturers, they have to balance the interests of students and in that balancing act, the balance must tip towards promoting the welfare of the students. Reflect on this, Lecturers, reflect!
On the other hand, when you have incompetent administrators, this is what you get—mediocrity. At Chancellor College, they have proper administrators led by Professor Richard Tambulansi. When they finish administering exams, a time-table is already out for marking. Every Lecturer, is required to mark for two weeks, then assessment meetings at departmental, faculty ensue within a week and the next week, the college or senate has to meet to approve the results. Just imagine, Mzuni was first to commence the semester but Chanco students have their first semester results out and they will be going for the second semester the same month while the circus at Mzuzu University continues. Shameful!
At Mzuzu University, we hear that results for a semester are released at the end of second semester, in fact, they release when Lecturers so wish. Incredible mediocrity. This is unfortunate but it boils down to incompetent leadership. Professor Saka is a chemist not an administrator, how do you expect him to run a university like an administrator? I understand his deputy, late Professor Msiska was not even an administrator. This explains the chaos at the University.
Take for example, LUANAR, it has Professor Kanyama Phiri, a biologist I guess but is deputized by Professor Dzimbiri, an accomplished administrator. This is why LUNAR’s sanity is returning.
While all this mediocrity is going on, then we have Mzuzu University Students, whose wings were clipped by the incompetent Management. We hear they were made to sign forms meant to take away their political rights of demonstrations, etc. End result, they are simply watching from the sidelines, helpless, as their future is being ruined by incompetent Management and selfish/unpatriotic lecturers.
If the crop of Malawians were like these Mzuzu University Students, we wouldn’t be where we are that we will be heading for fresh election. The docility from Mzuzu University students and their desire to trade-off their birth-rights for fear of incompetent Mzuni Management beggars belief. One wonders if Mzuni offers liberating courses like human rights, political as well as law related courses. Wake up, students, Wake Up!
I can keep on ranting and ranting but one thing is clear, when all is said and done, University stakeholders must always put the welfare of students at heart and as a priority. What is happening at Mzuzu University is regrettable to the students as well to the nation. When we are done with MEC commissioners, next should be Mzuzu University. The childishness, selfishness and incompetence at Mzuni leaves a lot to be desired. This country needs a complete overhaul in all departments and Mzuni must be next on the line to be cleansed.
Views expressed in this article are that of the writer, Franklin Jumbe and not this publication. For any personalized feedback, drop him an email to email@example.com .