College of Medicine: One of the constituent colleges of University of Malawi which stands to benefit from delinking

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—University of Malawi Council has come under fire for stopping unbundling of the constituent colleges, with South Afraica based legal scholar, Danwood Chirwa, describing the move as unlawful worth calling for resignation of Council Chair Professor Jack Wirrima.

During its extraordinary 102nd meeting in 2017, the council and the senate agreed to delink the constituent colleges of the university of Malawi. The move was later endorsed by Malawi Parliament.

But according to a statement signed by Deputy University Registrar of UNIMA Ashanie Gawa, the council held its 117th extraordinary meeting on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 where the decision to set aside the delinking was made.

The council realized the decision was ultra vires and not in line with the powers and functions of the Senate and the Council.

Reacting, Professor Chirwa says the Council has ignored the law to fulfill self interest as the delinking, in its very nature, will render some officials at the Central Office useless.

Chirwa argues that there some few officials including Professor Wirrima who are the beneficiary of the status quo, hence the resistance.

“Wirrima seems to have managed to mislead other members of UNIMA council to ignore the law and delay the delinking of UNIMA colleges. He’s acting out of an apparent self interest. As a proprietor of one of the private clinics, his actions and those of his conspirators have an adverse impact on the College of Medicine which has in recent years established a bourgeoning college clinic and stands to benefit the most, along with Chancellor College, from the delinking.

“Wirima and some in council also have misplaced loyalty to Kamuzu Banda, who in truth could not have intended that UNIMA remains stultified under the weight of the current structure. There can be no doubt that the delinking will improve and strengthen all the affected colleges and create opportunities for the expansion of higher education in the country,” said Chirwa in a facebook post on Friday.

Chirwa has also insinuated that Wirrima is one of the untouchables of the current government such that his stand might have a blessing from the Tonse Alliance administration led by President Lazarus Chakwera.

“Unfortunately, Wirima is one of the untouchables of the current government. His unlawful acts might thus be condoned, if the government has not already aided him in the commission of this serious unlawful act.

“The man seems to be above the Minister of Education. She must put him in his place. He’s retrogressive and must be removed if he doesn’t resign. If Malawi was a country that adhered to the rule of law, Wirima would have been dismissed as chair of council with immediate effect,” he said.

On allegations that the previous council members acted unlawfully, Chirwa says it is the current council that has acted unlawfully.

“His [Wirrima] council has no power to derail the delinking. The Act he is purporting to rely on was superseded by later Acts.

“UNIMA council is not above Parliament. In any case, his council cannot rescind a previous decision of council without a court order. The technical jargon he must look up is ‘functus officio’. In short, Wirima’s council has made a decision that is without any legal effect,” he argued.

Chirwa has, therefore, asked all members of UNIMA to reject the decision of the council and insist that the law is implemented and the delinking is done.

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