I really feel sorry for Chancellor College students who have missed classes for over two weeks now due the standoff between their lecturers and the Malawian government and more in particularly the Inspector General of the Malawi Police Service.
The lecturers should just swallow their pride and get back to their jobs because this circus is causing more delays to an already messed up academic calendar. Yes they need academic freedom but the way they are calling for this academic freedom makes one wonder what type of academic freedom they want, is it the freedom to political dissent.
Political science class or not, no lecturer should teach their students dissent against the government and I believe the Mr Chisenga’s comparing Malawi’s problems to Egypt’s revolution was completely out of context and reckless because of the difference in magnitude of the two country’s problems.
The Egyptians were revolting against 40 years of oppression and corrupt governance, and it would be ridiculous to say petty issues such as forex and fuel shortage require such demonstrations.
Those Academics should not forget that Malawi’s democracy is only 17 years old and cannot expect it to be up to the standards of western democracies which are 100’s of years old and which also had to evolve over the decades and faced many problems.
Look at America, which despite having their a democratically elected president since 1789, had discriminatory laws against African American s and women in the 1960’s and people had to fight and die for their civil rights, and still today cases of discrimination in terms of jobs, housing, health care, etc are still there, along with police brutality against minority groups.
Even bigger still the invasion and occupation of Iraq are completely illegal, and their army and security agencies are infringing against peoples human rights and committing crimes against humanity in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.
Furthermore apart from Malawian democracy being a baby still needing to mature, and smooth its rough edges, Africans and Malawians being who they are still need authoritarian rule and an iron fist to govern over them, otherwise a lassie faire type government would only lead to anarchy.
Remember how disciplined, hardworking, and progressive the nation was under the leadership of Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, then step in democracy and all of that was lost, we thought democracy meant that we should become what we see on MTV .i.e. ladies started dressing promiscuously and became very loose, rude to their husbands, children started dressing like gangsters talking and acting like thugs, sagging their pants, wearing oversized clothes and not listening to their parents. We become a society of lazy beggars who no longer want to work hard and achieve for themselves but would rather wait for handouts and someone to come along and create development for us. Now the President wants to restore discipline and we resist, generally I believe Africans do not know what is really good for them and who are our real enemies, that is why the nation never relied behind the President when his deported the thieving tobacco bosses, which to me was a great thing to do because those asamunda (colonists) are a major reason we are still poor.
Another point is that, are the so very learned academics at Chancellor College forgetting that the world is still recovering from a financial crisis, and no nation is immune to the effects of the crisis.
Generally in such circumstance developing countries such as Malawi are prone to suffer because, our main sources of forex would be harmed i.e. our exports would drop and many donors would cut their funding. Plus there is the ban on barely tobacco which will deeply hurt our economy further.
My final points are; what is at stake is more just a few wounded egos, the lecturers have a mandate and duty to first of all put the students welfare before their own selfish needs, and more importantly is, I am not denying that the country has problems but instead of just criticizing the government for all the problems, why are we not giving them solutions. Instead of putting ideas of dissent in the minds of our students why not instil in them the skills and knowledge required in addressing these problems, and compliment government development efforts and not destroy them. I close with a question; will marching maliciously fill very Service Station in the country with fuel.