...Her convoy forced to change direction
...The situation is tense in Zomba City
Jill Biden, wife to U.S. Vice-President, Joe, narrowly escaped being pelted by stones in Malawi’s old Capital City, Zomba, on Tuesday.
Jill is in Malawi, after arriving on Monday to fulfill some assignments.
On Tuesday, Jill was scheduled to visit Machinga District in Southern Malawi [unofficially called the Eastern Region]. The road to Machinga passes through Zomba City, which borders that former.
However, Jill’s convoy— which caused traffic jam along the Masauko-Chipembere Highway in Blantyre around 08:30 am, on Jill’s way to Machinga— had to be forced to return after irate students from Chancellor College started pelting stones at vehicles driving on the Blantyre-Zomba-Machinga route.
Students from Chancellor College— a constituent college of the University of Malawi— are protesting recent fee hike in the university. Effective the 2016/17 academic year, the University Council has pegged fees for generic students at K400, 000 [from K320, 000] at Chancellor College; K600, 000 at the College of Medicine [from K500, 000], K450, 000 [from K340, 000] at the Kamuzu College of Nursing and K400, 000 at The Polytechnic [from 320, 000].
Mature entry students have not been spared either. At Chancellor College, those who were paying K275, 000, K300, 000 and K450, 000 [according to programme] now have to cough K900, 000 at Chancellor College. At the College of Medicine, access to academic services has been pegged at K1.4 million [from K900, 000], Kamuzu College of Nursing mature entry students have to source K1 million [up from K650, 000] and students from The Polytechnic will be coughing K950, 000 [up from K275, 000.
Chancellor College students on Monday went to present their grievances to the University Office [located 50 metres from Eastern Region Police headquarters] and went blocked by police. Running battles ensued, and skirmishes have continued today.
At least one rifle belonging to a Malawi Police Service police mobile service was dismantled yesterday.
So, it seems that Jill found herself in the cross-fire [sorry, cross-stones]. And, for her act of generosity to come to Malawi on some charitable cause, Jill’s seven-vehicle convoy was forced to return back to Malawi.
Of course, not before some stones were thrown!
The incident raises questions over the ‘intelligence’ of Malawi’s intelligence services. Surely, National Intelligence Bureau knew that the situation was tense in Zomba City. And, yet, they still advised Jill to use the Blantyre-Zomba-Machinga road.
It also raises questions about the U.S. security services. Were they not warned?
What happened to the FBI?