Mzuni Alumni Association’s AGM to also act as fund-raiser in Lilongwe

The alumni during a tree planting exercise

By Duncan Mlanjira

Mzuzu University (Mzuni) Alumni Association is set to for its elective annual general meeting (AGM), which will be held in three days — June 28-30 — as it is also a fund-raising activity at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre.

The event will start on Friday, June 28 with a disco from 6pm to midnight at the Wildlife Trust Centre’s Cuneco Cafe at a fee of MK2,500 per person and the ticket will be used to buy drinks inside at a rate reduced by MK300 for every drink.

The conference on Saturday morning from 9am to noon is free for all paid up members and MK5,000 for non-paid up members.

The Alumni’s president Nicely Claude Msowoya, who will seek re-election, said during the conference’s plenary they will discuss the status of the association and how to take it forward as well as presentation of 2018-2019 financial statement.

“The elections will then follow from 1:30pm and only paid up members will be in attendance,” Msowoya said. “In the evening, there will be a cocktail and dinner from 6pm to midnight at a fee of MK12,000 for paid up members and MK15,000 for non paid up members.

“Offered on the menu are chicken wings, Rosemary wedges, goat braii, chicken drumsticks (sweet&sour) plus 5 coupons of free drinks of one’s choice and a cash bar.

“Participants are being asked to make their own transport and accommodation arrangements. For logistical purposes we request members to make prior registration of their attendance and the specific events they wish to attend.

“Payment for cocktail attendance has to be made in advance. No one will be allowed to pay at the door for cocktail attendance.”

Meanwhile, the find-raising dinner and dance at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe which the Mzuni Alumni Association wanted to organise in May to establish a scholarship fund for needy students, was postponed to July 27 because it coincided with the May 21 tripartite elections.

The alumni were inspired to come to the fore after being concerned with the high dropout rate of students due to tuition fees and set up a committee named Academic Liaison Committee, which in consultation with the Mzuni management, will come up with an assessment criteria on who is to benefit amongst the needy students.

“Initially, it will start as a bursary, but once it gains grounds we will establish it as a loan fund,” Msowoya had said in May.

The background to the drop out problem was that in 2016, government raised tuition fees from MK55,000 to MK280,000 per student per year and was further revised upwards from MK280,000 to MK350,000.

In 2017, the tuition fees was yet again raised from MK350,000 to MK400,000, translating a percentage increase of 627% over a period of two years.

“Understandably, Mzuni is grappling with an acute failure to meet its expenditure expenses and let alone to clear its built arrears,” he had said. “Also understandable is the shock that such a huge raise has brought to the financial alignments of students who were meritoriously admitted to pursue their further studies at the University.

“Since this record increase in the tuition fees, Mzuzu University has recorded unprecedented dropout rates attributable to tuition fees and subsistence covers. It is within this background that Mzuzu University Alumni Association has organised this drive to mitigate the scale of the problem.”

Other efforts so far done by the alumni was a Big Walk in the City of Lilongwe on 26th May 2018 and membership subscription fees was raised from MK5,000 to MK10,000 per annum.