8 students arrested for damaging school property in Mchinji

* All the damaged property is valued at an approximate amount of K25 million

* Mchinji Police still investigating to trace and arrest other suspects who are at large

By Amos Phiri Chigwa, MANA

Police in Mchinji have arrested eight students for the offence of damaging school property at Kamwanya Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) following riots against administration’s disciplinary action towards some students who were expelled from the school weeks ago for misconduct.


Mchinji Police public relations officer, Limbani Mpinganjira confirmed the arrest, saying: “On March 17, the irate students mobilised themselves and damaged school structures, windows and petrol-bombed the school library.

“All the damaged property is valued at an approximate amount of K25 million,” Mpinganjira said, adding that the police are still investigating to trace and arrest other suspects.

The suspects — identified as Mark James, Kelvin Clement, Dalikeni Greciano, Roderick Thokozani, and John Chakwera, all aged 18, and Happy Masepo, aged 19, and two others will appear before the court to answer charges of arson and malicious damage.

Just a week ago, when Minister of Education, Madalitso Kambauwa Wirima visited Mphomwa CDSS in Kasungu to access progress of construction of school blocks and laboratories, she warned against acts of vandalism in secondary schools, saying government will not hesitate to expel students involved in hooliganism and close the schools.

The school blocks and laboratories are being constructed under the Equity with Quality and Learning at Secondary (EQUALS) project in various schools and Kambauwa said acts of vandalism affect the Ministry’s ability to deliver quality education as the malpractice results to destruction of the learning environment and materials, leading to premature closure of schools.

“It is very devastating to see children destroying the already inadequate school property for reasons which can be easily sorted out, thereby risking their future by being chased away from school. That’s why we condemn acts of vandalism in strongest terms.

“The Ministry will not tolerate any kind of misconduct from the learners, and we will work tirelessly with the teachers and all the concerned parties to get rid of all the undisciplined learners.

“It is also my appeal to parents and guardians to instil discipline in their children right away from home to behave morally.”

She also visited Mphomwa CDSS in the same district where she also emphasized her warning on vandalism, saying those caught in such misconduct will be expelled and will not be given any opportunity to continue their education in any public institution.

Wirima said it is very disappointing and disheartening that while government is trying to improve education, there are some unruly students who are vandalizing classroom blocks and learning materials — especially if they do not agree with some of decisions by school managers.

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“To bring sanity, we will not be left with any choice rather than expelling such ungovernable students who spoil other students with clear vision of their future,” she warned.

She cited Robert Blake in Dowa that on has Form 1s, while Khola and Nachitheme in Ntcheu  remain closed since students damaged property and classrooms which demands huge sums of money for restoration.

“Let me emphasize that as a Ministry, we do not condone the practice of vandalising property in our schools,” she said. “We have many students who come to school to shape their future.

“As such we will not allow a few students to disrupt the education of their peers. I therefore urge students to follow right channels of presenting their grievances as opposed to vandalism.”

She then asked parents and guardians to give right advice to their children, realizing that a child’s behaviour starts at home.—Reporting from Kasungu by Abubakar Kanjoka & Gift Chiponde, MANA