University Council to probe under-fire Bunda principal
Bunda College principal professor Moses Kwapata will be investigated for maladministration allegations levelled against him by students who are seeking his resignation.
Chairperson of the Council of the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) professor Zac Kasomekera on Friday said they will only act on the matter after investigations into the claims.
Since Monday last week, the students have been boycotting classes, pressing for the immediate resignation of Kwapata who they accuse of failing to effectively run the affairs of the college. They also want a written explanation regarding the delinking process of Bunda from the University of Malawi (Unima).
Said Kasomekera: "Due to the absence of the Luanar middle management, that is, vice-chancellor and registrar, the Unima middle management will handle the investigations into the students’ allegations, also considering the fact that’s where professor Kwapata is employed.
"After the investigations, which will also see professor Kwapata being heard as the rules of natural justice entail, the [Luanar] council will act on recommendations made by the Unima middle management."
Kasomekera said part of the investigation will be to establish if Kwapata defaulted on his contract by getting more than what is stipulated in it as the students claim.
Said Kasomekera: "Some of the allegations made by students, including mismanagement of college property and abuse of office, relate to Kwapata’s contractual agreement with the college. Since the principalship has its own terms of reference as a result of a contractual arrangement, the investigations will find out if he indeed breached any of the stipulated references. At the time being, it is premature for the council to make a decision".
The chairperson said the Luanar council is currently working on dealing with the immediate problem at Bunda, the students’ sit-in.
Explained Kasomekera: "At an extraordinary meeting on Thursday, we resolved that once arrangements are in place, we will engage the students in order to clear their fears regarding the delinking process. Honestly, it would have been better if the students sought the explanation they need from us [council], rather than resorting to action by way of writing President Joyce Banda and holding sit-ins and demonstrations".
The council closed the college on Wednesday following disturbances at the college. Police, acting on instructions from Luanar, dispersed the students using teargas. The students on Thursday obtained an injunction against Luanar’s order. But most students had already left campus.