MZUZU--Enter Abel Phompho, exit Moses Chalera. Mzuzu University Students Representative Council (MUSREC) has new office bearers.
Abel Phompho has been voted president of the student body after defeating Vice Pres Nyozomo Gondwe by 846 votes to 614.
He comes into office amidst huge financial problems which for some time have disrupted learning at the institution. Outgoing president Moses Chalera did try to bring attention to the situation but his efforts came up against a wall.
Phompho told MaraPost he intends to bring change.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 14th Congregation which was presided over by Pres Joyce Banda – she was installed as Mzuni Chancellor on the same day, August 24 – Phompho vowed to engage all stakeholders to help solve the institution’s financial woes.
He was pleased with this statement by Pres Banda: “When one examines the budget allocated to Mzuzu University and the demand made on its resources, it is obvious that the financial resources are…inadequate,” said Banda during the graduation ceremony.
But Phompho, who also answers to nicknames “Modern Philosopher” and “Divine Gentleman”, said Pres Banda needs to do more.
"It’s not for the Chancellor to simply admit that Mzuni is inadequately funded but it is for her to do something about it and not just mere political rhetoric”.
He charged that Mzuni, a publicly funded institution, is sidelined by the government. Other colleges that get support from the government are: The Polytechnic, Kamuzu College of Nursing, College of Medicine, Bunda, Chancellor College and Domasi College of Education.
“I have inherited problems [of] tuition fees and stationary allowance…but students need these loans for their education.
“It’s high time the president [found] lasting solutions,” Phompho said.
Saying his administration will be different, the student leader had a word of advice for fellow students.
“I don't think demonstrations are a solution; we have more often tried them in the past but have in rare cases succeeded. I will be frank in engaging with stakeholders so that they see the need to solve our problems instead of engaging in confrontations.”
The tough-taking Phompho urged students to stand united and he fired off a warning to Mzuni management.
“We understand that we are operating on inadequate resources…I encourage them to manage well the little resources they have. Government must ensure transparency and accountability and even if it means bringing external auditors that will work as compared to leaving the institution without auditing for 6 years now; that’s a recipe for corruption”.
©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.