News / Africa

Malawi College Teacher Boycott Shows No Sign of Ending

Jessie Kabwila-Kapasula, president of Chancellor College Academic Staff Union, says President Mutharika's recent comments show executive arrogance

Jessie Kabwila-Kapasula of Malawi (center)
Jessie Kabwila-Kapasula of Malawi (center)

Multimedia

Audio
  • Jessie Kabwila-Kapasula of Chancellor College spoke with Butty

James Butty

Lecturers at Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, continue their weeks-long boycott, despite an order by President Bingu wa Mutharika to return to the classroom.

The lecturers say their academic freedom was infringed on when Inspector General of Police Peter Mukhito summoned an associate political science professor for a lecture which drew parallels between Malawi's current fuel crisis and the uprisings that toppled governments in Tunisia and Egypt.

The lecturers are demanding an apology and an assurance that their academic freedom will not be infringed on again.

But, last weekend, Mutharika defended Mukhito’s actions. The president reportedly says he, as commander-in-chief of Malawi Police Services, cannot apologize to what he called a “mere lecturer.”

Jessie Kabwila-Kapasula, president of the Chancellor College Academic Staff Union, says Mutharika’s comments amount to executive arrogance.

Malawi College Teacher Boycott Shows No Sign of Ending
Malawi College Teacher Boycott Shows No Sign of Ending

“The president, in a party meeting [Saturday], actually said he wanted [to] reiterate what he said last Friday, that is to say that the Inspector General of Police will not apologize. He said, if the Inspector General of police apologizes, because the president is the commander-in-chief of the police, it would be as if he is apologizing,” she says.

Kabwila-Kapasula says a leader who actually feels he or she has done something wrong and apologizes for it would be looked upon favorably by the citizens.

“One would like to think that as a leader who actually can apologize when they feel they have done something wrong, in my opinion, I don’t think it will make him a weak leader at all; it will actually make him gain a lot of support in my eyes or in the eyes of a good number of his voters and citizens of this country because they will know that he has seen where he has gone wrong. But, apparently, he says he cannot do that. To me, that comes out as executive arrogance,” Kabwila-Kapasula says.

She says the lecturers have gone to court to challenge the constitutionality of Mutharika’s order for them to return to the classroom as well Mukhito’s summons of associate political science professor Blessings Chinsinga.

“On Saturday he [Mutharika] gave an order that we should go back to class without any of our demands being met, and we went to court to ask if that order is constitutional. We have also gone to court to get a stay so that order and anything that is attending to that order, there should be a stay on that. We’ve also asked the court to interpret if what the Inspector General of Police did to Dr. Chinsinga, and by extension to us, is constitutional,” Kabwila-Kapasula says.

She says the courts are expected to rule on the appeals by April 20. And, Kabwila-Kapasula says several Malawian organizations are expressing solidarity with the university lecturers.

“Several organizations in the country are expressing solidarity and underlining that the issue academic freedom is pivotal to many issues of development and defines citizenry in many ways. For example, we had the Law Society and then we also had MCTU, which [is] the Malawi Congress of Trade Unions. We’ve also had constituent colleges joining in this show of fear to teach,” she says.

Kabwila-Kapasula also says all the organizations have agreed to take what she calls unspecified action if their academic freedom is not assured.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid