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Mzuni Vice-Chancellor frustrated

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Vice-Chancellor for Mzuzu University (Mzuni), Robert Ridley, has withdrawn his services from the institution five months after his reappointment by President Peter Mutharika.

In a letter which we have seen that Ridley wrote to the Chairperson of Mzuni Council, Rex Harawa, on February 9 2018, Ridley says the delays associated with the appointment process are illustrative of a systemic failure.

“…the extensive delays associated with the process have demonstrated a systemic disrespect for the office of the VC and under these circumstances, I no longer feel that I can commit myself to the position…the cumulative delays have led to an untenable situation, hence my decision to terminate the process,” reads the letter in part.

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Ridley recounts events of the process in the last seven months which have not borne any positive result.

He says after the expiry of his contract on July 31 2017, Mutharika, who is also Chancellor of the university, recommended that he continue performing his duties in an acting capacity until his reappointment on October 11 2017.

However, the appointment was not followed by any written contract until October end when one was drawn to which some revisions were made upon agreement.

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On November 23, Ridley says he was contacted by management asking for further changes to the contract which he agreed.

But to his surprise on December 12 2017, he received a contract for a signature which contained substantive differences to what was earlier agreed which forced him to seek explanation on December 15.

After the queries were attended to verbally, on January 16, according to the letter, the embattled VC received a contract on January 25 indicating that he starts work on February 1 2018.

“As of this date, I have received no confirmation of the contract, despite the contractual start date of February 1st and no effective start date of employment…I have kept my life on hold for Mzuni for the last seven months, despite the frustrating delays I outlined. I am afraid, however, that my patience is at an end,” the letter adds.

The university’s Liaison Officer, James Kwilimbe, who is also acting university registrar, confirmed the matter but asked for a one-on-one meeting.

Mutharika, through his spokesperson, Mgeme Kalilani, described the development as a misnomer.

“The Chancellor has not received any communication from either the council of the university or the appointee regarding any challenges with the contract,” Kalilani said.

Ridley previously served as pro-vice-chancellor for University of Malawi and was first appointed to the post of Mzuni VC by former president Joyce Banda in 2012.

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