High Court halts Mzuzu University Vice Chancellor appointment

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The High Court in Mzuzu has stopped Mzuzu University from proceeding to appoint a new vice-chancellor after the person who claims to have emerged successful during interviews for the position obtained an injunction and applied for judicial review.

Associate Professor Golden Msilimba claims in documents he filed in court that he was picked for the job by the university search committee following interviews held on March 28, 2012 at Sunbird Mzuzu Hotel, but was later denied the position.

Msilimba sought judicial review of the university’s decision through his lawyer George Kadzipatike. The court gave the green light for the review on Thursday.

“It is ordered that leave to move for judicial review be and is hereby granted against the decision of the respondent or its chairman suspending the legal process of appointing Vice-Chancellor after the applicant had emerged successful, and secondly requesting government not to send a person who had never undergone the statutory appointment of Vice-Chancellor of Mzuzu University,” reads the order by Justice Dingiswayo Madise.

The university’s acting registrar Yonam Ngwira refused to comment on the matter, saying chairperson of the Mzuzu University Council Professor Brown Chimphamba was better placed to discuss the issue.

Chimphamba could not be reached for comment.

In the court documents, Msilimba said Chimphamba, who chaired the interviews, suspended the recruitment process and asked government to install an unnamed person, who he said did not attend the interviews, into the position.

“There is now produced to me a copy of the MEMORANDUM dated 7th June, 2012 from the Chairman of the Council of Mzuzu University to all Members of Mzuzu University Council, explaining how he made a decision in consultation with some Council members and management officials to suspend the appointment of Vice-Chancellor.

“What should stick to the mind of the court is that the Chairman of Council never made the decision during any Council ordinary or extraordinary meeting. He just explained to those meetings that he had consulted and he had decided to suspend the appointment of Vice-Chancellor, and in his explanation he alluded to something like he was unwilling to deliver my name to the President of the Republic, because I had conflict of interest as I also sit on Council,” read the documents.

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