The University of Malawi offices in Zomba
* Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences
* Kamuzu University of Health Sciences
* University of Malawi (UNIMA)
* UNINA comprised Chancellor College; College of Medicine, Kamuzu College of Nursing and the Polytechnic
By Duncan Mlanjira
The Malawi government has announced that it will proceed to delink the University of Malawi (UNIMA) into three universities — Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS); Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHES); and the University of Malawi (UNIMA).
MUBAS has been formed through Act No. 19 of 2019 while the KUHES and UNIMA has passed as Act No. 18 of 2019.
In a statement from on Wednesday, February 18, the decision was officially communicated in Lilongwe at a meeting where the Vice-President Saulos Chilima has with the alongside the Minister of Justice, Titus Mvalo, the Attorney General Chikosa Silungwe, Director of Higher Education Dr. Levis Enaya and officials from the Department of Statutory Corporations and Public Sector Reforms.
The statement said the meeting was a follow up to one held on February 2, 2021 which discussed the resolution made by the Council to review the process of delinking the UNIMA.
“Prior to delivering its position today, there have been consultations within the government hierarchy to affirm its position to proceed with the delinking process,” says the statement released by Pilirani Phiri of the Vice-President press office.
“Moving forward, the Ministry of Education will proceed to gazette the commencement date for the 2019 Acts of Parliament in line with Section 74 of the Constitution; implement a detailed Plan of Action on the delinking; and establish a Transitional Unit to oversee and conclude the process.
“The delinking of UNIMA is a progressive process in increasing access to higher education and improving governance and operational efficiency in public universities in Malawi.”
Last month, UNIMA issued an internal memorandum saying the decision to link the constituent colleges made in 2017 was done beyond University Council’s legal authority (ultra vires).
The initial decision to delink UNIMA was taken during the 102nd extraordinary meeting of the Council held on July 10, 2017 (minutes 96 and 97/2017) but at the 117th extraordinary meeting held virtually on January 20, 2021, the University Council observed that the decision was not in line with the powers and functions that its two structures — Senate and Council — “were mandated to undertake under sections 10 and 19 of the Act (Cap 30:02)”.
“In view of the foregoing, Council at this sitting of the 117th Extraordinary meeting resolved to set aside the process of delinking the Constituent Colleges of the University of Malawi.
“Council, however, resolved that a Functional Review be conducted to guide Council on the way forward in addressing areas which require improvement and to embrace aspirations towards enhancing the efficiency of the University.”
The Functional Review has now led to the new resolution on better ways to delink the UNIMA.
During UNIMA’s graduation congregation in Zomba in November 2019, the then Chancellor, President Peter Mutharika said it was decided that each constituent college should become a university because the goal was to create more space and cultivate a culture of competitiveness among colleges.
Mutharika also praised UNIMA for still standing in the test of time, saying it has done its best since its establishment in 1965.