Chancellor College students who went out to stone vehicles and people like Jill Biden might have hoped that, after performing their day’s labour, they would go back to the college base to rest for the night, recoup energy, and prepare for another battle on Wednesday.
It was not to be.
They have received news that the college, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, has been closed indefinitely.
So, it is back home they go; to face angry parents and a world with dates, but blind dates in their case because the suspension is indefinite.
However, Education Minister Emmanuel Fabiano – who was in the company of Biden when she sought refuge at Eastern Region Police headquarters in Zomba— has moved quickly to deny that he has not influenced the college’s decision to close its doors to students.
“I have nothing to do with the closure. I do not interfere in such matters,” Fabiano, a former University of Malawi Vice Chancellor, told Zachimalawi on Tuesday.
This means, while students at other University of Malawi constituent colleges— namely Kamuzu College of Nursing, College of Medicine and The Polytechnic— will continue learning, sitting examinations, eating, and receiving book allowances.
Chancellor College students have become willing sacrificial lambs in the battle, nobody knows what! Maybe unobstructed access to information.
“I repeat, I played no role in the closure,” reiterated Fabiano.
It promises to be a long holiday.
In 2011, when President Peter Mutharika was serving as Education Minister under his brother Bingu’s second term, University of Malawi constituent colleges were closed for closed to a year over what became known as the ‘Academic Freedom’ wrangle.
Peter did nothing to intervene and the wrangle went unresolved for close to a year.
Today, Peter is the President.
So, just as U.S. Second Lady Jill Biden failed to visit a project site in Machinga today, Chancellor College students will fail to visit their own classrooms on Wednesday.