The recent decision by the Malawi government to devalue the kwacha , may lead to demonstrations by Chanco students if the authorities fail to consider the welfare of government sponsored non residential students, Chanco Storm can reveal.

The students are afraid that the upward adjustments of prices will definitely affect the value of their K33 000 monthly allowance eventually rendering them unable to make ends meet. Government announced earlier today that it has devalued the kwacha by 47.5% sending the general public into panic and it seems the panic has also hit UNIMA students.

Chanco students protesting over academic freedom

The issue of devaluation of the kwacha was one of the top issues that antagonized the former UNIMA Chancellor Bingu was Muntharika regime with the major donors in the western world, as he vehemently refused to devaluate our currency. The late President vowed to stand by his ground citing that fear of an economic meltdown as the main reason for his hard stance.

However, the new regime led by Mai Joyce Hilda Ntila Banda, in a effort to rekindle diplomatic ties with donors, has devalued the kwacha effective today, 07th April.

Reacting to the news, a Students Union executive member observed that, as Chancellor college Students Union (SUCC), they are not against the move or whatsoever about it, but that they are worried about the welfare of their fellow students most especially first year government sponsored non residential who survive on a meager K33 000 because the devaluation will inevitably lead to commodity price increase.

“We know for a fact that the immediate response suppliers will make is to revisit their prices upwards and government and university management need to take responsibility quickly so that our fellow students are not victimized,” said the representative who spoke to Chanco Storm on strict conditions of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak on those matters by the executive. He continued to say that as SUCC, they are monitoring the situation very closely and would seriously engage the management very soon be it at college level or further up. He continued to say if the authorities do not hear them out, they will call for the immediate general assembly “where will ask for students’ permission to speak a language the authorities might understand,” he said referring to a demonstration.

Meanwhile, government sponsored non residential students of which the majority is in first year have already started complaining about the dwindling value of their monthly allowance. A survey Storm conducted on facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets have indicated frustration from the students about their welfare. Many are complaining about the impending increase in prices which include rental fees, a and worse still the rental fees were already hiked earlier this year following the initial 10% devaluation by the former government earlier this year.

The system of having government sponsored non residential students was introduced last year to carter for many students in the university. It effectively ended the system of self sponsored non-residential students popularly known as parallel students however it has led to massive congestion at Chanco that some students are literary sitting on the flow when attending lecturers due to inadequate chair supplies.

Chancellor College, the mother constituent college of University of Malawi, the biggest and first to be built of all campuses, has a population of about 3000, and more than 500 of these are government sponsored non residential students.

Source: http://thestormblog.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/demonstrations-loom-at-chanco-as-government-devaulates-kwacha-by-silvester-ayuba-james-2/

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