At least 254 students at Mzuzu University risk contracting waterborne diseases such as cholera as the facility has had no running water for a week now.
Supply of the commodity was deliberately interrupted by management in a bid to force students to move out of the campus for Christmas and New Year holidays.
However, some students opted to remain on campus for various reasons, hence they, through Mzuni Student Representative Council (Musrec), submitted a request for consideration to continue residing on campus during the time of the festivities.
A letter we have seen, signed by Musrec President Greenson Mbotwa and dated December 13 2022, cites transportation costs, intensive academic preparations and cholera outbreak as factors that prompted some students to prolong their stay on campus.
“With current economic struggles students are going through, it will be difficult for these needy students to go home in a space of two weeks and come back.
“This office understands that, this semester, students were highly affected by late access to examination results and late registration. These had an impact on class attendance. Therefore, there is a need to consider us with on-campus services like Wi-Fi and lights, among other services. This will help them [students] cover uncovered work since this institution offers a good environment for studies and group discussions. This will also give level four students a chance to finalise their research work before they join the world this February,” the letter reads.
But without necessarily responding to the letter, Mzuni management issued a memo, on December 21 2022, instructing all students to vacate the premises for the two-week break.
“All students residing on campus are required to clear from the hostels latest by Saturday at 10:00am. Staff members will not be available during the break to provide support services to students,” the memo, attributed to Mzuni Registrar Yonamu Ngwira, reads.
When The Daily Times crew visited the campus on Monday, it found that litter was all over the place, especially in hostels, as there is, apparently, no one to collect such garbage.
The school neither has a borehole nor long-drop toilets, forcing students to get potable water from far and wide.
But, in an interview Monday, Mzuni Registrar responsible for public relations Clifton Kawanga said all they know is that there is no student on campus as students were sent on holiday.
The development comes at a time the country is grappling with cholera.